Liz’s Update

Learning how to catalog glass last week

Hi! I’m Liz Clevenger, an M.A. student in the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford. In addition to being a student in this lab methods class, I am working as a research assistant on the Market Street project and am conducting research on one of the features from the Market Street Chinatown for my masters thesis. Although I started background research in the fall, CASA 203 is helping to jump start my actual in-lab artifact analysis for my thesis. I am getting to know the cataloging system and computerized database better, learning how to identify and analyze different materials, and also meeting a variety of people (from archaeologists specializing in historic California archaeology to descendents of San Jose’s 19th century Chinese community) whose insights and ideas are invaluable.

These tiny fish and rodent bones come from the flotation samples

The artifacts I am analyzing for my thesis come from Feature 20 of the 85-31 collection. Because this collection was the focus of the lab methods class last winter, the ceramics from Feature 20 have already been cataloged. In the coming weeks, I’ll be cataloging and analyzing a variety of other types of artifacts, both as a part of lab (glass and metal) and on my own (organic remains like leather and textiles, and small finds such as buttons and coins). Earlier this winter I sent the faunal remains from Feature 20 to specialists who are trained in identifying and analyzing mammal and fish bones. I will also be sending out botanical remains recovered during flotation to another specialist for analysis. Stacey and I spent a cold, wet day up in San Francisco doing flotation on soil samples that had been saved from Feature 20 during the excavation in 1985; in addition to botanicals such as seeds, wood, and charcoal, a number of micro-artifacts like tiny fish vertebrae and small ceramic sherds were recovered from the soil samples.

Featured Artifact

Glass from 85-31 Feature 20

For my class research project, I’m analyzing the ceramics and glass from Feature 20, and my interpretation will focus on the topic of food practices within the Market Street community. Glass bottle fragments — like these finishes and necks pictured — will aid my interpretation of food practices including storage, preparation, presentation, consumption, and discard.

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