Before England fell in love with tea, there was coffee. Beginning in the 1600s, coffeehouses spread through England. Historians think of them as the more polite, refined counterpoint to taverns and alehouses, a place where the customers – mostly male – could drink and discuss and debate the news of the day.
It’s a bit surprising that almost no coffeehouses have been explored archaeologically, but Craig Cessford and colleagues now describe artifacts, tightly dated to between 1770 and 1780, from a small brick cellar associated with Clapham’s Coffeehouse in Cambridge, England. Continue reading “Coffeehouse Archaeology in England”
By digging at the site of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson in 1929, Engineer Donald Page gets the nod as Tucson, Arizona’s first historical archaeologist. That was his only excavation, and less than ten years later, his life took a tragic/stupid turn (alcohol and a handgun were involved). See Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist by Homer Thiel.
There are no confirmed historic records of fox squirrel from New Jersey, although it is present in surrounding states. One subspecies, the Delmarva fox squirrel, was recently removed from the endangered species list after a concerted effort was made in Delaware and neighboring states to help it.
The University of Minnesota is conducting a field school at a historic site in Carver County first occupied in 1855 by Swedish-American farmer Andrew Peterson. Local newspaper the Chaska Herald has a photo essay showing the site and the tools of the trade.
The Charleston Museum is pleased to announce that archaeological site reports, produced by its Archaeology Department, are now available online. Comprising 56 reports, the bulk of which were prepared by Curator of Historical Archaeology Martha Zierden, they cover a variety of Lowcountry projects, including urban, plantation and military sites.
The publication of a site report is the final phase of any archaeological project and contains all of the details of a project, from site history and fieldwork discoveries to enumeration of recovered artifacts. Many reports also include detailed assessments from specialists, who analyzed animal bone, examined soil samples for pollen or parasites, or focused on particular artifact types.
The Museum, which has sponsored a program in historical archaeological research in the Lowcountry since the 1970s, is excited to be able to make this information available to the public, thanks to a recent website upgrade and the efforts of several staff members. Curator of Historical Archaeology Martha Zierden notes “because of their limited production and distribution, site reports are often hard to find. Now decades of research from the Museum are available to everyone.” Director Carl Borick added that these reports “are an invaluable window into the Charleston area’s past, and an excellent example of the dedicated research efforts of Martha Zierden, Ron Anthony, and other staff members, who have made a critical contribution to the Museum’s mission.”
The MSU Campus Archaeology site has a new post by Katy Meyers Emery about a Frozen Charlotte doll found in one of their digs.
The name comes from a poem, and later a song, about a young woman who, not wanting to cover up her pretty dress, refused to dress warmly for a long sleigh ride with her beau. When they arrived at the party, he discovered, to his horror, that Charlotte had frozen to death.
The small, inexpensive dolls do not have moving limbs – i.e., they look frozen. They were quite common in the mid to late 1800s, and may also have been easily lost or broken, as they turn up not infrequently on historical archaeological sites.
The photos below show some of the Charlottes (as well as other toys and trinkets) excavated from house sites in a former late nineteenth century working class neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey. Images from:
Howson, Jean, and Leonard G. Bianchi
2014 Covert-Larch: Archaeology of a Jersey City Neighborhood. Data Recovery for the Route 1&9T (25) St. Paul’s Viaduct Replacement Project Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ. Cultural Resource Unit, The RBA Group, Inc.
Making use of museum-based collections — even, or especially, from sites excavated nearly one hundred years ago — is essential to regional research. Julia A. King writes about collections-based research in the first of a series of posts on collections and curation at the SHA’s website. King’s insight comes from her work on the “Colonial Encounters: The Lower Potomac Valley at Contact, 1500-1720” project, which synthesized data from over 30 archaeological sites in Maryland and Virginia.
One unsurprising conclusion: “Perhaps the most troubling issue we observed is a disciplinary mindset (for want of a better phrase) which continues to foster the never-ending field season, resulting in un-cataloged or under-cataloged collections along with no site report.”
For the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, Maney Publishing has made available for free download 100 scholarly articles dealing with World War I, including several on battlefield archaeology. The articles will be available to download, with no sign in necessary, through August 2014 at their website:
A sample of the articles available:
The Spanish Lady Comes to London: the Influenza Pandemic 1918-1919
Andrea Tanner, The London Journal
Academic Freedom Versus Loyalty at Columbia University During World War I: A Case Study
Charles F Howlett, War & Society
‘An Infinity of Personal Sacrifice’: The Scale and Nature of Charitable Work in Britain during the First World War
Peter Grant, War & Society
They don’t like it up ’em!: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War
Paul Hodges, Journal of War & Culture Studies
Naming the unknown of Fromelles: DNA profiling, ethics and the identification of First World War bodies
J L Scully and R Woodward, Journal of War & Culture Studies
‘Those Who Survived the Battlefields’ Archaeological Investigations in a Prisoner of War Camp Near Quedlinburg (Harz / Germany) from the First World War
Volker Demuth, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Not so Quiet on the Western Front: Progress and Prospect in the Archaeology of the First World War
Tony Pollard and Iain Banks, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Archaeology of a Great War Dugout: Beecham Farm, Passchendaele, Belgium
P Doyle, P Barton and J Vandewalle, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Excavating Under Gunfire: Archaeologists in the Aegean During the First World War
David W J Gill, Public Archaeology
Remembering War, Resisting Myth: Veteran Autobiographies and the Great War in the Twenty-first Century
Vincent Andrew Trott, Journal of War & Culture Studies