Hi. My name is Beverly Chang and I am a senior majoring in Cultural and Social Anthropology. This is the first archaeology class I have ever taken, so everything we learn in class and in the lab each week is new to me! It is interesting learning archaeology lab methodology when my previous conception of archaeology, much like the general public, was in the context of excavation. Each week, as other students have been reporting, we learn about how to identify and classify different types of materials.
In the last week or so, we have been winding down our specified material analysis and increasingly turning our attention towards our individual research projects. Each student has chosen their own research topic, drawing up specific questions and themes they hope to address through the analysis of artifacts from two features that have been catalogued already. Some of the projects students are working on relate to food and consumption practices, as well as the role of gaming in society. I myself am looking at some wooden dominoes and dice made of bone and asking questions about who exactly engaged in gambling, what socioeconomic class was represented by most gamblers, and whether or not a gambling house might have existed in the Market Street Chinatown.
Our featured artifact of the week is a bright blue piece of heavy glass that looks like it might be from the base of a vase or some type of decorative container. The color is very striking, and the reason why I chose it as the artifact of the week is because the color caught my eye. It’s a bright cobalt blue, slightly translucent and has some patina on it. A piece of glass like this is pretty unusual for the collection. The glass we’ve examined from the collection has largely been from green or brown beverage bottles and other more plain articles. This piece, however, is quite beautiful in comparison to most of the glass we’ve looked at.