Technical Reports

Technical Reports

TR Volume 9Vol. 9: The New Mississippian River Bridge Archaeological Project: Late Victorian and Early Modern Occupations 1880–1930

Authors: Patrick R. Durst and Dwayne L. Scheid with contributions by Claire Dappert-Coonrod, Kristen N. Donahue, Patrick R. Durst, Joseph M. Galloy, Steven R. Kuehn, Curtis Mann, Robert Mazrim, Martha M. Mihich, Robert W. Rohe, Dwayne L. Scheid, and Laura Williams

2020, 798 pp., figures, tables, references, online downloadable appendices

This volume documents the investigation of Euro-American historic-era deposits encountered during the New Mississippi River Bridge (NMRB) project. The investigations, conducted by teams of archaeologists from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), explored the information potential and historical significance of a largely late Victorian-era residential neighborhood within the project limits. Thehistoric-era material remains, dating from 1870 to 1930, are part of the “second city” that developed at East St. Louis. The “first city” was the “East St. Louis Precinct” of Greater Cahokia. This Native American city buried beneath the Euro-American citydates to the 10th through 12th centuries AD and has been documented in a series of published NMRB project reports funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)...

Utilizing both archival records and archaeological data, ISAS researchers do succeed in providing a glimpse of everyday life in the Goose Hill neighborhood, but their work also highlights the limitations of urban archaeology in the late Victorian era. The limitations stem from three transformative forces: (1) increasing mass-production of goods (consumerism), (2) proliferation of detailed recordkeeping, and (3) expansion of public sanitation, especially the removal of refuse from residential areas. These trends profoundly limit the information potential of the material record. Archival records in most cases can better answer research questions than can samples of mass-produced goods.

Archaeologists who focus on of the recent past might debate this conclusion. Yet the chapters in this volume well illustrate that as the information potential of the material record drops off significantly, the information potential of archival records increases just as significantly. In short, we may conclude that although mass-produced items can provide tangible links to past lives and events, they are part of a new world order (capitalism), one in which we live today, where producers and consumers are separated by time and space, and where families of different ethnic or economic backgrounds consume and discard many of the same goods, which are then deposited off-site in community landfills. This conclusion is indeed a genuine contribution to Midwestern historic-era archaeology, one that has far-reaching implications for the scholarly study of the recent past.

—Brad H. Koldehoff, IDOT Chief Archaeologist

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TR Volume 165Vol. 165: Drugstore Bottles for Archaeologists: Embossed Springfield Pharmacy Glassware from the Civil War to the Roaring Twenties

Author: Kenneth B. Farnsworth

2015, 84 pp., full-color figures, tables, references

This archaeological overview of changing styles and use patterns of pharmacy glassware in the upper Midwest is a direct outgrowth of Fred Brown’s intensively researched history of Springfield Illinois drugstore businesses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (see Studies in Material Culture #2, “Good for What Ailed You” in Springfield, Illinois: Embossed Pharmaceutical Bottles Used by Springfield Druggists from the Civil War Era to the Early Twentieth Century by Frederick M. Brown).

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