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We've nearly completed the summer and recovered a substantial assemblage of domestic refuse from the last century.  While we know the lot was a corner store for this period, the refuse actually appears to be typical of domestic discards:  that is, we have not identified unusual percentages of particular artifact types.  By week's end we will begin to wrap up the season's excavations and begin the task of analyzing the thousands of objects that have come out of the field school excavations.


f8f4601.jpg (35114 bytes) Originally the well had tiles, laid bricks, and concrete directly over it.  The picture directly above (click for larger image) shows the tiles on June 1 before they were removed in the neighboring unit.

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(Click on thumbnails for larger images)

Feature 8 was a fresh water source in the backyard of 800 Camp Street that was identified on May 27 (left).  The thumbnail image above left shows it on June 1, when it was about three feet below the present-day ground surface.  Above left is how it looked on June 9, by when we had reached the base, which was nearly six feet deep.  Joan Gabig and Sarah Weimer are shown above right excavating the feature's surface perimeter on June 9.  When the feature was originally dug, bricks were placed into the hole and soil was packed around the outside, leaving what archaeologists call a "builder's trench."  If we can find dateable artifacts in this fill, we can then date when it was first excavated and compare that to the artifacts that came out of it, which appear to date to about 1930.



Feature 8 appears to have been filled around 1930.  When the residents discontinued using this feature as a water source--likely connecting to city water--they filled the hole with a typical range of household discards. Click on thumbnails for larger images.


f8barbasol.jpg (11083 bytes)This tiny synthetic Barbasol closure is typical of the relatively commonplace domestics thrown into the feature.  Barbasol, a shaving cream that is still sold today, has been marketed since the mid-1920s.

Who throws trash in their backyard?

Actually, pretty much everybody did.  Before about World War II, there was little city refuse collection in much of Indianapolis.  Since the nineteenth century, some entrepreneurs had collected refuse and carted it off to discard or recycle, but there was still a vast volume of things folks discarded on an everyday basis.  Much of this was thrown away off site, into open lots and local waterways, but much still ended up in peoples' yards.  Spots like feature 8, discontinued outhouses, and foundation holes were prime spots to discard and seal refuse.

f8mgjarside.jpg (36591 bytes)This milk glass jar probably was a cosmetics vessel.  A similar vessel still containing cold cream or makeup was recovered elsewhere on site.
f8ring.jpg (15895 bytes)After about 70 years in the ground, this ring still bears the outlines of a floral pattern on its face. f8mgjarbase.jpg (49348 bytes)This is the base of the vessel shown above.  We use these embossed marks as a way to date the objects in this and similar features.  The New Jersey based Woodbury Glass Works was established in 1881; this vessel dates to after 1920.


n30w20glass.jpg (41907 bytes)This light blue glass table  vessel was once quite stylish and still bears the traces of a gilded decoration. These artifacts were all found in a deposit that appears to date to the early twentieth century.  They include a crushed thimblen30w20pipes.jpg (49187 bytes) (bottom left), the finish (i.e., rim) of a stoneware bottle (top left), a stoneware smoking pipe (center), and two fragments of stoneware pipes (right). Heather Childress' trowel is the blur retrieving this broken bottle from the structure's fill.n20w30bottle.jpg (62939 bytes)
This spoonring.jpg (21669 bytes)utensil handle was cleverly bent into a ring to serve as makeshift jewelry.

n20w30seal.jpg (55616 bytes)


n30w20indybott.jpg (58109 bytes)What merchants did Ransom Place residents patronize?  This vessel, which is a typical size for a pharmaceutical, gives us a hint of at least one local merchant the folks at 800 Camp Street patronized.  The bottle is embossed with the identification of an as-yet unknown Indianapolis merchant. 

The object above is a pliable metal disc roughly 1.5" in diameter impressed with a patriotic motif.  It was recovered from deposits that are tentatively dated to about 1910.  Let us know if you think you know what it is.  Email at

marble.jpg (13418 bytes)Perhaps the only unexpected artifact quantities on site have been the marbles: the site has yielded about 30 marbles like this one.


A shake of this sealed metalpilltin.jpg (47010 bytes) tin still resonates with the contents that remain trapped within.



When the tin was opened in the lab, it turned outcompact.jpg (97361 bytes) to be a cosmetics compact with a small mirror and dried makeup.

thbottle.jpg (49279 bytes)This vessel was bottled nearby by the Terra Haute Brewery.

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