Object Biographies

After objects were collected through field and site survey, they were taken back to the lab to be washed, processed, and further analyzed. Objects of specific interest with identifying marks or features were researched using several different tools: see hyper-linked sites within object biographies for specific resources and bibliography at the bottom for more general information. Biographies for objects collected at Women’s League Cabin site appear first, sorted by Unit letter and number. Field site object biographies follow. For information on the meaning and interpretation of objects as part of the larger assemblage please check out the pages on the Women’s League Cabin Survey and the Field Survey.

Hundreds of artifacts were collected during the surveys of the Field and Women's League Cabin sites, which were then analyzed by the three students in the survey group

Hundreds of artifacts were collected during the surveys of the Field and Women’s League Cabin sites, which were then analyzed by the three students in the survey group: Sage Mitch (Center), Theo Morris (Right), and Chloe Bergstrand (not pictured, though her orange computer is).

Objects were collected in the field during several weeks of survey work at both the Women’s League cabin site and the field. As objects were collected they were meticulously bagged and labeled with their location and material, so that more comprehensive interpretations of individual units and larger assemblages could later be formed. After all surveys and excavations were complete the objects were carefully washed and handled in the lab. Glass and plastic artifacts were washed with water, while metal, organic, and more delicate objects were carefully brushed off. After cleaning, any unique objects or objects with distinctive marks were noted for further research. Historical archaeologists have compiled extensive guides online for the identification and dating of common artifacts and materials. Glass objects especially can be analyzed for a likely date of production and use. Looking for makers’ marks, serial numbers, brand logos, or even distinctive shapes and colors can give clues to the bottles origin. With more complete bottles this information is frequently on the bottom or along the bottom edge, but with partial shards, interpretation is more difficult. Then more general information is only available based on the quality, thickness, and color of glass. Other artifacts pose their own problems and are frequently more difficult to date precisely because they are more quickly damaged by the elements than glass. There is still ample information though on major changes in production and clues to production period compiled by professional archaeologists. For instance, tin cans, an ubiquitous item at the cabin site and throughout 20th century archaeology, can be dated by the seaming and sealing techniques used – evidence visible despite rust and degradation of the artifact.

Other artifacts required more general research, but were still able to yield specific results. Combs with brand names, pottery sherds with visible illustrations, or distinctive light bulb styles, were specific enough to turn up company histories and relevant news items that allowed a relatively detailed history and narrow time frame to be drawn up. Sites devoted to the preservation and interpretation of historic homes and buildings provided valuable information on objects related to the original cabin structure. Many of these stories and the methods used to identify them are detailed below. Unfortunately, the stories of some objects may simply be lost to time. Too degraded, obscure, or common, they could not be accurately dated or tell a story beyond their immediate appearance. What information could be gathered is presented here, along with photographs of some 40 objects of special interest. Taken all together the biographies of these objects provide us with an intimate look into the lives of past users of the cabin. Objects ranged in possible date from the 1940s (near the cabins inauguration) to within the last two years and hailed from as far away as California, Massachusetts, and possibly even England. The cabin site has been used by generations of Carleton students and Northfield visitors and residents for a range of recreational purposes. These simple objects, once broken refuse, tell that story.

Women’s League Cabin Site

Survey Unit A


 WLC SU-A2: Brown Glass Bottle Fragment, post 1910

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WLC SU-A2: Brown Glass Bottle Fragment

The brown glass fragment found in survey unit A2 is likely from the side of the body portion of a bottle and is lacking in distinctive maker’s marks or seams for identification and dating purposes. However, the bottle is  clearly labeled “one pint”. A raised label such as this would have been made in the bottle form. The one pint label also indicates that this bottle was probably produced after 1910 when many consumer protection laws were introduced requiring bottle contents and capacity be clearly labeled. The shard has a fairly flat, wider curve to it, indicating it was likely from the flat side of an elongated flask shaped bottle. The probable shape of the bottle and pint size makes it likely that this bottle was used for liquor or spirits.

WLC SU-A2: Green Plastic Comb Fragment, 1960-1977

WLC SU-A2: Green Plastic Comb Fragment

The green plastic comb found in survey unit A2 was one of several combs found in the A area of the cabin site. Despite missing several chunks of teeth, the comb was easily identifiable. Along the top edge of the comb were two different logos, one for “Dupont” and one for “Lido.” Dupont was a plastics manufacturer headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts that operated from 1925-1977. The company pioneered the use of Pyroxylin plastic and produced many different objects. Their combs were fairly common and widespread. The comb appears to be consistent with the style of “Lido” combs advertised in newspapers in the 1960s. The probable date range for the comb then is from the 1960s to the end of Dupont in 1977. These combs were advertised as lasting for life and being extremely durable, so it may have been used at the cabin far after its initial production date.

WLC SU-A4: Green Glass Bottle Fragment of Bottom, post 1940

WLC SU-A4: Green Glass Bottle Fragment of Bottom

The green glass fragment found in survey unit A4 of the cabin site is easily identified visually as a portion of the side and bottom of a bottle. Unfortunately, it lacks any logos or marks to make identification easy. There is a faint seam along the side, known as a ghost seam, which wraps around the bottom edge indicating that the bottle was machine manufactured in the 20th century. The bottom edge also has textured ridges and knurling as a byproduct of production on a machine belt which dates the bottle production as after 1940. Without a larger section of the bottle of distinctive mark it is impossible to speculate on its use.

 

 WLC SU-A4: Rusted Can Fragment, Post-1940s

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WLC SU-A4: rusted can fragm

The rusted can fragment found in unit A4 is too degraded to show any markings or labels of the original can. However, the double folded seam on the body and edges of the can indicates that it was a solderless, sanitary can. These cans were produced widely by 1911, but didn’t dominate the market until the 1940s, making this can likely produced after that date. Sanitary cans were significantly less likely to spread contamination and could be used for larger objects than earlier canning mechanisms. They were used for all sorts of food and drink.

 

 

WLC SU-A5: Green Glass, Large Fragment of Side, 1950s

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WLC SU-A5: green glass, large fragment of side

A large textured fragment of green glass was found in survey unit A5. The curvature of the fragment indicates that it was likely part of the body and shoulder of a glass bottle. Without any distinctive marks or seams, it is hard to conclude much about the production company or process from the bottle shard. The bottle does have the phrase “No Deposit” prominently embossed on it. Prior to World War II most all bottles were refillable, and only in the 1950s and 60s did it become common for bottles to be “no deposit, no return.” Bottle deposit laws were not introduced until 1971. The earliest possible date for this bottle would be in the 1950s.

 

WLC SU-A5: Long Green Plastic Comb, Post-1942

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WLC SU-A5: long green plastic comb

The long green plastic comb found in unit A5 was one of several combs likely used by the cabins former occupants and visitors.  Despite missing several teeth and being faded, the comb was easily identified as such. The comb has a small label imprinted into it reading “Pro-phy-lac-tic.” This label indicates that the comb was a product of the Pro-phy-lac-tic Brush Company, a former tooth brush manufacturer expanding into other products. The name Pro-phy-lac-tic was adopted by the company in 1924. Research was able to find that the Pro-phy-lac-tic name and scripted font were trademarked for use on combs and hairbrushes in 1942, making that the earliest possible date for the comb. Interestingly, the comb is not of their heavily marketed “Jewelite” line from the late 1940s that featured transparent plastic combs and brushed in ruby, sapphire, or crystal colors. We were unable to conclude whether this comb pre- or post-dated the Jewelite line.

WLC SU-A5: Metal Drum Assemblage (Not Collected)

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WLC SU-A5: Metal Drum Assemblage

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WLC SU-A5: Metal Drum Assemblage

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Survey Unit A5 a large metal drum full of artifacts was discovered, but left undisturbed. Inside the barrel were  clearly visible fragments of patterned ceramic dishes, many rusted tin cans, a partial pie pan, sherds of mug, assorted pieces of colored tile and other ceramics, large flat clear glass shards, and a bottle. Other debris was harder to visually identify and mixed with ground leaf litter. Because artifacts and the drum were left in place, no detailed analysis or dating was carried out; Future Archaeology classes will study the barrel deposit further. It seems likely that the drum was used to collect refuse and then burn it. Unfortunately rust and weathering have removed any conclusive evidence that it was a burn barrel, but there was clearly a concious human effort to collect and concentrate debris within the barrel.

Survey Unit B


WLC SU-B3: Clear Glass Fragment, 1940-1968

WLC SU-B3: Clear glass fragment

The small clear glass fragment found in unit B3 at the Women’s League Cabin site is the bottom and edge of a glass bottle. The textured pattern on the bottom of the bottom, known as stipling or knurling, come from its production on a machine belt and dates the bottle as produced after 1940. There is a small logo on the bottle bottom that upon close inspection is revealed to be a “G” imposed over a “C”. This logo is for the Glass Container Corporation and was used from 1938 to 1968. The Glass Container Corp. operated three plants in Vernon, CA, Antioch, CA, and Palestine, TX. They produced bottles for both soda and alcohol, largely for companies in California.

WLC SU-B4: Crackled Opalescent Glass Fragment, Post-1930

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WLC SU-B4: Crackled opalescent glass fragment

A uniquely shaped, glass fragment with a crackled, opalescent finish was found in survey unit B4. The odd shape and pinched in edge make it difficult to identify what object it may have come from. It is unclear if this bent shape was original to the fragment or if it was caused by exposure to high heat, i.e. through a fire. The fragment has a crackled iridescent finish, likely caused by exposure to the sun and elements rather than its original treatment. The bottom part of the fragment has a circular stamp from production where the bottle was held during machine blowing, a process that dates the bottle as likely produced after 1930. The bottom fragment is marked with the number 25, but this does not reveal any useful information as it is likely a code noting the mold or style number rather than date or production company.

WLC SU-B5: Green Plastic Bottle, 2013

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WLC SU-B5: green plastic bottle

The green plastic bottle from unit B5 is clearly the result of more modern waster discarded near the cabin site. The label on the bottle reads “Mtn Dew” for Mountain Dew soda. The bottle has a printed expiration date of October 7, 2013. Plastic bottled sodas made from regular sweeteners are generally dated to expire 3-4 months out from their production, so this bottle was likely produced and filled around June 2013. Its presence indicates more recent visitors to the cabin site, or else the gradual movement of objects and trash by wind or weather into the area.

 

Survey Unit C


WLC SU-C1: Brown Glass Bottle, 1987-1995

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WLC SU-C1: brown glass bottle

The brown glass bottle found in survey unit C1 is uniquely complete, but was a challenge to identify from a lack of distinctive marks. The number and design on the bottom of the bottle proved to be a red herring in its identification. Instead, the key marking is the small logo on the bottom edge of three triangle set together. Despite roughly resembling the recycling symbol, research revealed that it was intended to depict a sail boat and is the maker’s mark for the American National Can Company.  They used this particular logo from 1987 to 1995, so the bottle must have arrived later in the life of the cabin site. The textured knurling or stipling pattern along the bottom edge confirms a machine belt production that must have occurred after 1940. Next to the sail boat logo the bottle is embossed with the phrase “Please Don’t Litter 05”. Research connected this phrase followed by the number code 05 to an American National Can factory in Pevely, MO. While exact operation dates for the plant could not be obtained, it appears that it opened around 1981 and changed ownership several times, confirming a production date in the 1980s or 90s. American National Can produced bottles and cans for a range of different beverages, making it difficult to say what this one may have contained.

WLC SU-C1: Pop Tab Metal, Post-1963

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WLC SU-C1: Pop Tab Metal

A pop tab from an aluminum can was found in survey unit C1 of the cabin site. Pull tabs on aluminum cans were first invented by Ermal Fraze in 1963 as an easy method for opening cans. The original pull tabs pulled away from the can with a section of the top and were quickly adopted so that by 1970, 90% of all soft drink cans had adopted this technology. Non-removable pull tab openers were introduced and patented in 1974 where the tab and top remained attached to the can. This design was intended to dramatically reduce litter and injury accidentally swallowed can top tabs. Since this tab is disconnected from can and top it is impossible to tell which type of can this tab came from.

WLC SU-C1: Green Glass Fragment with Anchor, 1989

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WLC SU-C1: Green Glass Fragment with Anchor

This fragment of green glass was recovered with several other similar fragments in survey unit C1 of the cabin site. It appears to be a portion of the side and bottom of a bottle. There is a small anchor logo, indicating that the bottle was produced by the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation sometime between 1987 and the present. To the right of the logo is the number “89”, indicating that this bottle was manufactured in 1989. To the left is the number 6, which likely refers to either plant 6 or 16 (the bottle breaks in front of the 6 so it is impossible to tell), so the bottle was produced in either Salem, NJ or Gurnee, IL. During this time period Anchor Hocking produced many different containers. It is unclear if the bent edge of the fragment was part of the original design or occurred due to extreme heat after it had been discarded.

WLC SU-C2: Brown Glass Bottle Fragment(s) with Writing, 1987-1995

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WLC SU-C2: Brown Glass Bottle Fragment(s) with Writing

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WLC SU-C2: Brown Glass Bottle Fragment(s) with Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survey of unit C2 revealed several shards of brown glass. Three of these shards clearly fit together into the bottom and edge of a bottle. When placed together there is an inscription around the bottom edge reading “PLEASE DON’T LITTER A3 A0 REG U.S. PAT. & T.M.” with an indecipherable number on the cracked edge. This inscription is remarkably similar to that of the complete brown bottle found in SU-C1. The bottom pattern is also similar with the number 57 surrounded by concentric circles. The 7 likely refers to mold or style number. Because of the similarities in inscription and bottom design, it is concluded that the bottle was produced by American National Can Company between 1987 and 1995. The style is different from the bottle in C-1, so it was likely used for a different beverage.

WLC SU-C2: Large Green Bottle Fragment, Post-1930

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WLC SU-C2: Large Green Bottle Fragment

A large fragment of green glass was found in survey unit C2. The large size of the fragment with its wide curvature and olive green color suggest that that it was likely the side portion of a wine bottle. On one edge of the fragment there is a partial imprint of the number “75,” likely indicating the common size of wine bottles at 750 ml. In addition to confirming the bottles likely contents, the labeled bottle size indicates that this bottle was probably produced after 1910 when many consumer protection laws were introduced requiring bottle contents and capacity be clearly labeled. Faint “ghost” seams along the length of the fragment and wrapping around the bottom edge indicate machine manufacture of the bottle after 1905. The uniform thickness and absence of flaws or bubbles suggests that the bottle was produced after 1930.

WLC SU-C3: Spoon Metal, Post-1992

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WLC SU-C3: Spoon Metal

A metal spoon in relatively good shape was found in survey unit C3. The spoon had several inscriptions on the back of the handle suggesting its probably origin. One inscription read “Stainless, Taiwan.” Stainless steel was first patented in 1915 in the United States and was widely produced by 1929, dating this spoon’s production as likely post 1929. Global production in Taiwan did not take off until after World War II, especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s, making this spoon likely from post-1950. The spoon was also inscribed “Brandware”: a clue to the production company. Brandware is a brand line produced by World Tableware, a subsidiary of Libbey. World Tableware was acquired by Libbey in 1997, but had previously been called WorldCrisa and was part of the Mexican company Vitro S.A.. WorldCrisa/World Tableware formed as part of a joint venture in 1992 and was always largely sold in the United States, making 1992 the earliest possible date for Brandware. Libbey markets Brandware as part of its “low-cost dinnerware alternative” through Libbey Foodservice. Selling primarily to larger food service companies, it seems likely that this spoon was purchased by Carleton or its dining services provider to supply the dining hall and was then illicitly transported by students to the cabin for use with food.

WLC SU-C3: Ceramic Sherd, 1981

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WLC SU-C3: Ceramic Sherd

The ceramic sherd found in unit C3 had a clearly visible and colorful pattern on it. The design showed part of a Santa figure and a small signature reading “Tom Wilson”. Research on Tom Wilson revealed that he was the creator of the Ziggy comic and cartoon, first launched in 1968. Many associated Ziggy products were made over the years, but it seemed likely that the ceramic fragment was from one of an annual series of Ziggy Christmas stoneware mugs. The design on the fragment matched the 1981 Christmas design depicting Ziggy as Santa and the phrase “Christmas Is Here with Warmth and Good Cheer.” Mugs were readily available for sale on Ebay and other sites.

 

 WLC SU-C3: Green Glass Bottle Bottom Fragment, Post-1940

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WLC SU-C3: Green Glass Bottle Bottom Fragment

The glass bottle fragment found in unit C3 proved a stubborn mystery. The green glass piece is clearly the bottom and part of the side and corner of a square or rectangular bottle. Imprinted on the bottom were the inscriptions “England” and the letters “LE”. Neither inscription could be matched to known makers’ marks or logos on bottles. There was once a prominent New England Glass Company in the 19th century, but the bottle was clearly machine manufactured and too new to have been produced by New England Glass. Possibly the phrase is the latter half of “Made in England”. The stipling pattern on the bottom reveals that the bottle was manufactured on a machine belt after 1940.

WLC SU-C4: Chip of Asphalt, Post-1970

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WLC SU-C4: Chip of Asphalt

A small chip of asphalt, black with green flecks, was found in unit C4. It is likely a chip of asphalt shingle, with the green flecks added for decorative effect. Asphalt shingles were readily available by 1915. Originally they were used with cloth mats prior to World War II, then a paper felt. In the 1970’s the industry adopted more durable fibrous glass mats as the base. Mat type for the recovered chip is unknown, but cloth or paper seems unlikely since the shingle chip held solidly together. The original roofing of the cabin is unknown, but it seems likely that this may be a remnant of it.

Survey Unit D


  WLC SU-D2: Chicken Label in Pieces, 1992-1993

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WLC SU-D2: Chicken Label in Pieces

Pieces of a white plastic label were found in unit D2. The label advertises “Arcadia Fryers”, quartered chicken legs produced by the Arcadia Fryers Corporation in Arcadia, WI. The Arcadia Fryers Corporation was relatively short lived, founded in 1992 and bought out in 1993, giving us a narrow time frame for this product. The presence of this label at the site (assuming that it was not transported in after its use) indicates that the cabin was still in use in the early 90s and visitors were cooking there in the Arb.

 

 

WLC SU-D2: Clear Plastic Bottle, 2011

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WLC SU-D2: Clear Plastic Bottle

The clear plastic bottle found in unit D2 has a faded logo identifying it as Dr. Pepper soda. The expiration date on the bottle is for May 5, 2011. Plastic bottled sodas made from regular sweeteners are generally dated to expire 3-4 months out from their production, so this bottle was likely produced and filled around January 2011. Its presence indicates more recent visitors to the cabin site, or else the gradual movement of objects and trash by wind or weather into the area.

 

 

WLC SU-D2: Foil, Post-1945

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WLC SU-D2: Foil

The crumpled piece of aluminum foil found in unit D2 could have come from the packaging of any number of objects. Aluminum foil was first commercially produced in 1920, but was initially only used on smaller object, like gum wrappers. Aluminum foil as a common packaging material increased dramatically during the 1940s after World War II, making it likely this larger foil wrapper comes from after 1945.

 

 

WLC SU-D2: Rusted Metal Jar Lid, 1933-1962

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WLC SU-D2: Rusted Metal Jar Lid

The rusted metal lid found in D2 was one of several metal lids found at the cabin site. While the lid holds together now as one object, looking closely at it reveals that it is actually two pieces, a top and a rim. Lids like these were used for home canning as the lid to glass jars. In the center of the lid when seen from certain angles is a very faint raised logo for Ball. Ball was founded in 1884 and continues through the present to produce jars and canning materials. Research shows that this particular logo was in use by Ball from 1933-1962.

 

WLC SU-D3: Wire, 1930-1950s

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WLC SU-D3: Wire

The discovery of a chunk of insulated electrical wiring in unit D3 was odd since records indicate that the cabin was never electrified. The insulation on the wire is a flexible sleeve, possibly either loom or cloth braid. Loom seems likely from the texture and inflexibility of the wrapping but is rarer over all. Loom would have been made of asphalt saturated cotton cloth and was a precursor to rubber insulation. Later, rubber insulation was wrapped in tar infused braid cloth, which this insulation may also be. Older loom would date from the 1930s, while cloth braid was used through the 1940s and 50s. Insulation of this type was commonly used on the power cords for devices or where wires were likely to cross in walls. It seems most likely that this is a piece of power cord for some device since the cabin itself was never wired.

WLC SU-D3: Blue Glass Fragment with Grooves, 1892-1920

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WLC SU-D3: Blue Glass Fragment with Grooves

The grooves and outside shape of the blue glass fragment found in unit D3 suggest that it is a portion of a glass insulator used on early telephone and electrical lines.  The aqua color of the fragment confirms this, as aqua was the most common color for glass insulators. An inscription on the side reads “A.M. TEL”, part of the full label “A.M. TEL & TEL CO.” used on early insulators for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (later to become AT&T).  A.M. TEL & TEL CO. first adopted glass insulators in late 1880s, with their lines stretched west of Chicago after 1892. Their insulators were made by four different companies: Brookfield, Hemingray, Western Glass Mnfg. Co, or Sterling. It is impossible to tell which model or manufacture this piece comes from without seeing the larger object. Hemingray production was most common, and if it was a Hemingray, then it was likely produced prior to 1934, when most insulator production switched to clear glass. Contract production of insulators for A.M. Tel and Tel Co. ended prior to WWI, but individual insulators and replacements were still produced, making it likely that this insulator was from before 1920.

WLC SU-D3: Small Light Bulb, Post 1959

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WLC SU-D3: Small Light Bulb

The small light bulb found in unit D3 was unfortunately dark and damaged on the bulb interior, disguising the filament and making it more difficult to precisely identify. By comparing the bulb to other light bulb photos, it can be identified fairly confidently as a low voltage, halogen capsule, wire loop base bulb. On the base of the bulb the letters “GE” are engraved very minutely, indicating that the bulb was produced by General Electric. GE was formed in 1892. Halogen bulbs like this one were first commercially produced in 1959. While the cabin was never electrified, this bulbs presence indicates that certain electric devices were used there.

 

WLC SU-D3:  Brown Glass Bottle, Shard from Bottom, 1951

WLC SU-D3: Brown Glass Bottle, Shard from Bottom

The brown glass bottle shard found at the Women’s League Cabin site in survey unit D3 yielded very thorough information allowing for an accurate ID and date. The shard could be visually identified as a piece of the bottom and small portion of edge of a glass bottle. The small “OI” symbol at the top of the shard marks the bottle as one produced by Owens-Illinois Glass Co. between 1929 and 1960. Below this logo is cursive script reading “Duraglas.” Duraglas was name Owens-Illinois gave to the process where the hot surface of newly produced bottles was sprayed with stannic chloride vapor in order to bond tin to the surface and provide scratch resistance. They first began using this process in 1940 and continued to emblazon the word on bottles until at least the mid-1950s, further narrowing the production time frame for the bottle. The roughened pattern on the bottom surface of the glass, known as knurling or stipling, was produced by a machine assembly belt and also marks the bottle’s origin as after 1940. Finally the number “51” embossed to the center right is a date code, indicating that the bottle was produced in 1951 and giving us a definitive date. The left portion of the bottle bottom is missing, so there is no information available on which of the numerous Owens-Illinois plants may have produced this bottle. The amber colored glass this bottle is made of is the most common color of glass to be used. Frequently it was used for beer bottles, but without a large portion of the bottle it is impossible to conclude for sure.

Outside Survey Unit


  WLC Outside Survey Unit: Intact Clear Glass Bottle, 1978

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WLC Outside Survey Unit: Intact Clear Glass Bottle

This bottle was one of the few completely intact pieces we found. The small “B” logo on the bottle of the bottle is a maker’s mark for Brockway Glass Co. that was used from 1933 to 1980. The number “8” also on the bottom is a code indicating which plant produced this bottle; in this case it was a plant in Rosemont, MN. The Rosemont plant shows a relatively local production and distribution of this particular product, but also allows the date range to be furthered narrowed, as the plant operated from 1961 to November of 1984. On the right of the bottle bottom is the date code for the bottle of “78” giving the exact production year. It is difficult to deduce the precise use for this bottle as the Rosemont plant made bottles for many different companies. The bottle has a champagne shape because of the more gradual transition from body to neck. This shape combined with the clear glass, and screw top indicates that it was likely a soda bottle.

Field Site

Survey Unit A


Field SU-A1: Subway Coffee Cup, 2013

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Field SU-A1: Subway Coffee Cup

 

The flattened cardboard cup in unit A1 was one of several disposable cups found in the field site. This cub is a two layered insulated coffee cub made for Subway, the fast food sandwich company. A copyright label on the side of the cup dates it as from 2013.

 

 

 

 Field SU-A3: Energy Shot, 2012

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Field SU-A3: Energy Shot

 

The small plastic bottle from unit A3 has a peeling, faded  label identifying it as “Xtra Energy Shot”. A copyright on the bottle dates it from 2012. Other energy drink packaging was also found in the field.

 

 

 

 

 Field SU-A4: Dish Mailing, 2015

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Field SU-A4: Dish Mailing

 

Paper found in unit A4 is an advertisement mailing for Dish Network satellite TV. The postcard has two $50 gift cards enclosed for referring a friend to Dish. The expiration date on the gift card coupons is July 20, 2015, making them a recent addition to the field site.

 

 

 

 Field SU-A7: Arby’s Package, 2014

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Field SU-A7: Arby’s Package

 

More fast food packaging was found in unit A7. This paper packaging was clearly identifiable as belonging to an Arby’s medium fries.  Copyright label on the side of the package dates it to 2014.

 

 

 

 

 Field SU-A7: Sandwich Package, 2015

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Field SU-A7: Sandwich Package

Sandwich packaging was also discovered in A7. The box and plastic wrapper advertise “Ham & American Cheese Sandwiches on Buns”. The sandwiches were made by the Kitchen Cravings brand, produced and distributed by Kwik Trip, a gas station convenience store. The sell-by date on the Sandwiches is for April 13, 2015, only days before our team discovered the packaging in the field.

 

 

Survey Unit B


Field SU- B1: Brown Glass Shard

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Field SU- B1: Brown Glass Shard

The brown glass shard found in field unit B1 is unfortunately lacking in any manufacturers mark. What it does have are line markings and an inscription of the number “40” indicating a gradual measurement on the side of the bottle. This makes it likely that the bottle was used for medicine or some other liquid requiring precise measurement, rather than a common food or beverage. Iodine and hydrogen peroxide are both commonly kept in amber glass bottles to protect them from the light, so this is a possibility. However, especially in earlier periods, amber glass was incredibly common over all for all glass products.

 

Field SU-B3: Larger Blue Glass Fragment, 1892-1920

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Field SU-B3: Larger Blue Glass Fragment

The large fragment of blue glass found in field unit B3 appears very similar to a piece found at the cabin site. This suggests that it is a portion of a glass insulator used on early telephone and electrical lines.  The aqua color of the fragment confirms this, as aqua was the most common color for glass insulators. An inscription on the side reads “A.M. TEL”, part of the full label “A.M. TEL & TEL CO.” used on early insulators for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (later to become AT&T).  A.M. TEL & TEL CO. first adopted glass insulators in late 1880s, with their lines stretched west of Chicago after 1892. Their insulators were made by four different companies: Brookfield, Hemingray, Western Glass Mnfg. Co, or Sterling. It is impossible to tell which model or manufacture this piece comes from without seeing the larger object. Hemingray production was most common, and if it was a Hemingray, then it was likely produced prior to 1934, when most insulator production switched to clear glass. Contract production of insulators for A.M. Tel and Tel Co. ended prior to WWI, but individual insulators and replacements were still produced, making it likely that this insulator was from before 1920.

Field SU-B3: Frosted Glass Fragment 

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Field SU-B3: Frosted Glass Fragment

Initially, the fragment of frosted glass found in unit B3 seemed like it would be relatively identifiable. However, frosted glass processes have actually been used for centuries and first achieved widespread popularity during the Victorian Era in the 1870s. Frosted glass is made using an acid etching or sand blasting process.

 

 

 

Field SU-B4: Mello Yello Can, Post-2010

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Field SU-B4: Mello Yello Can

 

The flattened can found in unit B4 has a faded, but clearly readable design for Mello Yello soda. This particular packaging design was introduced as a retro re-design of the soda in 2010 and came with a subsequent marketing push.

 

 

 

Field SU-B4: Bud Light Can, 2005

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Field SU-B4: Bud Light Can

The Bud Light beer can found in B4 was in very good condition. A small inscription on the top of the can reads “Anheuser Busch AB01” indicating that this beverage was produced at the St. Louis plant. A date on the side of the can indicates production on 3-10-05. The design of the packaging is slightly different from current Bud light cans with the splash of bubbles placed immediately under the logo instead of lower down on the can.

 

 

Field SU-B5: Flower Pot Planter Fragment

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Field SU-B5: Flower Pot Planter Fragment

The ceramic fragment from unit B5 was identified as part of a flower pot planter. The curved shape and partial drainage hole led to these conclusions. The red clay material is considered to be a coarse earthenware and is generally fired at temperatures from 900-1200 degrees C, making it softer and more porous than many types of pottery. Such red clay is also commonly used for cheap pottery planters.

 

 

Field SU-B5: Take-out Bag, 2014

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Field SU-B5: Take-out Bag

 

The paper bag found in unit B5 was torn up and faded, but still clearly labeled as from McDonald’s, the fast food company. Stamped onto the bottom of the bag is it’s date of production at December 6, 2014.

 

 

 

 

Field SU-B05: Fragment of Blue Glass Electrical Insulator, 1890s-1934

Field SU-B05: Fragment of Blue Glass Electrical Insulator

The oddly shaped blue glass fragment found in the field survey unit B5 was initially a mystery, but we were able to identify it as portion of a glass insulator commonly used for connecting and insulting telephone, telegraph, and electrical wires in much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These insulators were most commonly produced in colors ranging from clear to aqua, so the light blue of this fragment fits. By matching the shape of the fragment to images of common insulator types, it appears that our fragment is probably part of a Hemingray-14, CD-160 model insulators. These insulators were produced from about 1890 through the 1950s and were used for telephone rural systems, which seems likely for the area. Hemingray-14s commonly came in Aqua, Ice Blue, or Clear, so our ice blue model makes sense. The glass had bubbles and imperfections; since insulators were made for industrial usage there was no need for them to be aesthetically perfect, and today collectors value these imperfections highly. The Hemingray-14 is also sometimes referred to as a pony insulator because of its smaller size. The smaller size made it economically efficient, while the double petticoat design of the bottom protected lines from fog and high humidity. It has a longer leakage path than much larger, heavier models, making it ideal for rural lines. It is likely that this particular insulator was made prior to 1934 as after that most Hemingray insulators were made in clear color. Without any words or markings on the surviving portion of the insulator, it is difficult to know what company it was made for.

Survey Unit C


 Field SU-C01: Melted Blue Pen, 1979-2015

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Field SU-C01: Melted Blue Pen

Very few objects were recovered from the C field unit because a controlled burn had recently been conducted there. One of the found objects was a melted blue pen. Still legible on the pen is its brand and type: a Uni-ball pen. The burn was conducted in this section in Spring 2015, so the object was in the field by this date. Uniball metal tipped pens were first developed in 1979, but it seems likely that this pen was lost more recently to the field.

 

 

 Resources for Further Reference on Historical Archaeology


The Society for Historical Archaeology has compiled an extensive reference guide on the identification and study of bottles from the 19th and 20th century in the United States available at http://www.sha.org/bottle/.

The Society for Historical Archaeology also has a guide for the dating of common 20th century artifacts, sorted by object and important dates available at http://www.sha.org/index.php/view/page/20thCent_artifacts .

 Glass Bottle Marks is a private page of information compiled by collectors of glass bottles and glass insulators with information on many different roduction companies, available at http://www.glassbottlemarks.com/.

Information on glass insulators was also gathered by collectors at http://www.insulators.info/general/profiles/, including profiles of common insulator types, usage, and dates.

An extensive guide on early American canning practices and cans as artifacts in historical archaeology is available at http://soda.sou.edu/Data/Library1/History/ANTH02m_rock.89.01.pdf .

The Florida Museum of Natural History provides a good introduction to the identification of cermics in hisotrical archaeology, available at https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch/gallery_types/ceramics_intro.asp .

Most other information was gathered from object specific sites, companies own history pages, and collectors and dealers of historical artifacts. In these instances, web resources are hyperlinked in individual object biographies.


Content created by Sage Mitch, Theo Morris, and Chloe Bergstrand

Object Biographies: Sage Mitch

Photos: Theo Morris

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