About Vergil Nguyen

I'm a cutie anime girl from Cleveland, Ohio. Go Bengals! I am an Archaeological Science Major at the University of Washington.

Chinese Railroad Workers

For my project I researched the Chinese migrant communities of the nineteenth century working on the railroads. I decided to revolve my research around the precarity and futurity of migrant worker from Barbara Voss’ framework. Precarity in this case is risk assessment and futurity is the individual’s view of the future from their point of view.

What I then found in my research is that the easiest thing to write about was either the ceramic material culture and faunal remains from the animals they ate. There was a lot of valuable information about dietary practices and trade networks but surprisingly few about daily life. The findings were generally the same things in many places like porcelain and other ceramics and beef, chicken, and pork popular in chinese cooking alongside fish (Kennedy 2015, Porcasi 2017). The list goes on into shark and bear as well (Kennedy 2018).

It was also important to note the social challenges faced at the time such as institutional inequalities like various exclusionary laws and discriminatory zoning and taxation (Chace-Evens 2015) and social discrimination like the mob in Mono Mills (Sunseri 2015)

When I presented my findings to the class I was surprised by how few people were working on the archaeology for Chinese migrant communities but it might’ve been that those were just the only ones available online. In Voss’ article on transnational archaeology in China, there are notably many challenges in studying these same phenomena hear and in China such as the obvious language barrier but also practices like the way archaeology is done. There’s hopefully a lot more in physical text. This was surprisingly difficult to write as much meaningful synthesis as I wanted but it only goes to show the importance of expanding the field of archaeology and looking into things in a variety of perspectives.

Alex “Vergil Nguyen” H’s Collection of Wonders

For my Digital Storytelling project, I decided to go over the various knick knacks I acquired on a trip to Japan. Aside from a longstanding anime and video game obsession, it was also a place where I spent quality time with my father after years personal distance. I dont think we got very far, but it was significant to me, at least.

The trip all started as a plan between me and two other friends, sometime during the December of 2013, and intended as a senior trip. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out, as one friend was accepted on a full ride to Whitworth University for his skilled oboe playing, and must buy a new (and expensive) one for the school band. The other friend waited too long for his ticket and went out of his price range. My mother, as caring as she was, feared for my life in the reputably very safe Japan, so she had my father buy a ticket and accompany me there. In retrospect, the ticket probably could’ve just been handed to my friend, but there was probably something about the ticket price differences and “friend oweing debts” thing that would’ve made it an issue.

There in Japan I acquired a variety of fun knickknacks all related to my hobbies. I have many photos of artifacts and historic structures from not only Japan, but Korea and Vietnam as well. I’m not going to dig any of those photos out.

I sure like bottle 45K1765/M-56

Of all the bottles I looked at,

oh la la

I probably liked M56 the best. Embossed with Swift’s Pharmacy, this medicine bottle even has the address on 2nd and Pike Street, Seattle Washington, so if I take this bottle’s word for it, it’s obviously a bottle for medicine. Even without the embossing, the flat lip is indicative of a prescription bottle so you can tell based on that right away. On the bottom of the bottle is the maker’s mark of W.T. Co which according to Society for Historical Archaeology’s bottle typology website, dates the bottle from 1901 to 1924. I’m not certain when it was dumped, but it may have been towards the of the dump’s life in 1925

 

Alas, poor Swift’s Pharmacy

By the seams on the side that run all the way through sides, and what I assume on the shoulders are seams, I can only imagine that this was molded with a 3-piece mold, one for the top, and two halves for the body. But looking at it again with the seam running all the way to the lip, it’s probably more likely a 2-piece mold.

A search of that intersection on the internet will put you a street over from the Gum Wall and right next to Pike Place. Clearly it’s not there anymore and has since been replaced by bigger chain pharmacies like CVS and a Walgreens a block over and around the corner if Target isn’t your fancy.

came here once as a tourist and then never came back for the sake of convenience

 

 

By sheer coincidence, while googling the place I happened on an ad and to my dismay, just took me Professor Gonzalez’s blogpost on this same bottle. Since it’s already on the blog you can just read her post here:

https://blogs.uw.edu/gonzalsa/2017/02/14/what-can-glass-tell-us/

Death and Society

Calvary Cemetery is a rather old one in Seattle and possibly has been here since its very inception. As I had imagined, the most common epitaphs and messages were things like Beloved Mother and Beloved Father and here and there a quote from the Bible, after all this cemetery used to be a Catholic exclusive one. Many were former veterans usually from World War II some of I. One individual was what I believe to be some sort of nurse or doctor based on the caduceus symbol on her marker.
The seriation in my data was primarily focused on the type of grave marker used and looking at what kind of markers were most popular in each period of time over 5 year increments. There were particularly many deaths between 1935-1945 in particular which coincided with the end of the Great Depression and American entry into World War II. This conclusion came from the fact there were so many small block markers, which were the vast majority of what I saw at the cemetery. Monument markers bearing multiple family members were at their peak in this moment as well. Based on the economy at the time, I figured that these were the most affordable options at the time based on the small size of the markers and sheer frequency. Monuments would have an economic advantage of being shareable by many members. Some of which I saw had no death date meaning that person was still alive and would be added later. There were relatively few veterans from what I expected but it is possibly they were mainly in veteran cemeteries instead. It should also be noted that most of these vets survived the war. A larger portion occurred the depression and were possibly because of illness and age.

This lab was absolute Garbo logy

Over a week I recorded all of my garbage disposal and interrogated my family on what they threw out in my absence to avoid digging through again. I realized what kind of habits my family and I have in our disposal and also our purchasing habits so when I went to analyze another person’s, I made many connections on what a person could find out just by digging through trash. And when I started making connections to who that classmate could be, I realized how creepy Garbology work can appear to be. The things found in trash can be commonly found in relation to each other such as vegetables and fruit be associated with perhaps a paper or plastic bag from QFC. It takes no genius to come to that conclusion but when you consider the lack of marks or the unreliability of stamps can be, it takes a bit of wet work. But for this lab, it was pretty easy simply because of familiarity to those objects.

Found this old relic in my trash bin! Incredible what you find in there.

The person whose garbage I had is definitely a child of the West Coast or at least internally became one deeply. The fact that the refuse is separated by trash and recycling in such a detailed way shows this person is a Seattleite. It’s reflective of this city’s general concern with environment and probably its eating habits as well. The person was very dissimilar to me but at the same very similar. It just goes to show how much we can learn about each other through archaeology even in very recent times.

And here’s my dog

it’s interesting how many households keep these artifacts whose only function appears to be leaving garbage around the house. Perhaps a culture of cleanup?

About Me, Vergil “Alex H” Nguyen

Picture of a Bird I took in Hawaii. I don’t know what kind. I was at a biogarden or something on Oahu.

Hello, I am an Archaeological Science major at University of Washington. I first discovered my love of archaeology through my love of treasure and that I aced the introductory class in community college. Regions and histories I’m particularly interested in are ancient Greece and Rome. I’m particularly fascinated by military histories and Empires. Possibly as a romance of my youth, imagining myself traveling the world in some sweet armor. I could just get lost in the slightly sandy and yellow aesthetic with the white architecture and red accents of what I imagine Rome to be. I was deeply horrified when it came to light the Greek statues were actually painted bright colors. With that in mind I probably should’ve majored in Classics instead but too late now, graduating by Spring is more important.

Besides Archaeology and countless years of my life on playing video games, I like to spend my time watching cinema and art films. I’m trying to work on my film snobbery. So far most of what I’ve watched are the works of Akira Kurosawa such as Ran and Kagemusha. Currently, I’m conditioning myself to express distaste for superhero movies. This interest in film stems from my love of anime movies like Akira and Princess Mononoke.

Vergil Nguyen sounds like a person I would know but I don’t actually know any.