The Transcontinental Railroad and Racism

The results obtained through the research of people affected by the transcontinental railroad was pretty mind boggling. Although it was not really that surprising to find out that so many people were affected in a negative way, it is very mind opening to know exactly how particular people were treated just for the sake of the railroad, the ideals of white society, and the exploitation of capitalism.

The results of this research were also very sad. It makes one appreciate just how simple life is in modern times. Chinese and Irish immigrants during the construction of the railroad in the 19th century were subjected to some of the most dangerous and grueling labor practices that would (hopefully) never be allowed now. From harsh weather and little pay, to 12 hour days six days a week, this makes even the most intense labor dispute now seem petty. However, it is easy to see how these same types of practices that took place during the 19th century sort of mutate and become what labor is made of today.

Admittedly, it is pretty shameful to see how Native Americans and African Americans were treated too. From railroads being rerouted around towns to relocation of indigenous people and massacres of innocent men, women, and children, the results of this research are somewhat scary. However, it does no  good to look back and think about what could have been. Instead it is beneficial to look back and learn from our wrong doings so we can move forward for the betterment of all people regardless of racial background. This is why research such as this is beneficial to the field of historical archaeology as well to the general public. Many different people are often misrepresented throughout history and this kind of research can help open other people’s eyes to reality. 

Wyoming History WWCC

This specific online exhibit is an actual course taught at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY.The exhibit is very specific and talks about different parts of Wyoming History including Chinese immigrants, Japanese immigrants, Native Americans, the Oregon Trail, Fort Bridger, and the Great Depression.  The author of the exhibit is an instructor at WWCC named Dudley Gardner.

The exhibit definitely contains examples of archaeological materials from the Chinatown in Evanston, various petroglyphs, parts of the Oregon Trail, and numerous graphs and maps to help visualize data recorded. The various parts of Wyoming’s history are thoroughly explained and the author is holds a Phd in history and has numerous years of archaeological experience.  So the exhibit is easy to interpret as factual and represented with accuracy.

Each example from the various people who have inhabited Wyoming in the past contains various points of view and the effects of colonialism on the area. Different personal stories from the Japanese,Chinese, and Native Americans were discussed throughout the exhibit as well. The exhibit seems very truthful as well as engaging regarding the events that helped shape Wyoming.

Multiple audiences can be reached in this exhibit as well. Although this is for a specific class taught at WWCC other audiences can definitely be engaged with these examples given throughout the site. Audiences include students, professionals within the field, descendant communities, and anyone interested in Wyoming history. The pictures utilized throughout the exhibit also indicate that the communities where archaeological research took place were involved on the dig sites as the pictures included students, instructors, kids, and various other community members. Overall, this exhibit is engaging, factual, and very in depth. It is definitely worth a read! Visit http://www.wwcc.wy.edu/wyo_hist/default.htm for more information!????????????????????

Lee’s Pharmacy Seattle, WA

This particular bottle was fun to research. The bottle is artifact 45KI765/M-55 and is a medicinal bottle with a prescription lip and stands about 6 inches tall.  The bottle itself is not colored. However, it is embossed on the front and says “Lee’s Pharmacy Alaska Building Seattle, Wash.” The base of the bottle is embossed as well with “W. T. CO U. S. A.”

45KI765/M-55

Upon further research the W.T. CO U.S.A is a maker’s mark from Whitall Tatum & Co. which was located in Millville, NJ. So it appears this bottle was manufactured there and then utilized by Lee’s Pharmacy.  This particular bottle was manufactured sometime between 1901- 1914. Lee’s Pharmacy was located in the historic Alaska Building located in Seattle, WA and stayed in business from 1889-1914.

The bottle obviously contained some sort of medicine although it is difficult to say exactly what was inside of it. It is unique to have the building where Lee’s Pharmacy was located embossed right on the bottle as well. The Alaska Building was the tallest building in Seattle at the time it was constructed in the early 1900’s! Needless to say, it’s pretty cool to think about what was going on during this time in Seattle and how Lee’s Pharmacy eventually relocated to the Alaska Building after it was constructed.

Alaska Building Seattle, WA Photo provided by http://www.historylink.org/db_images/con007.JPG

https://www.rrncommunity.org/items/322301

http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/WTandCo_BLockhart.pdf

Columbia Center: Largest Building in all of Seattle

The Columbia Center is the largest structure in the city of Seattle and the also the largest in the state of Washington. In fact, the Columbia Center is the 2nd largest structure on the entire West Coast and stands at 943 ft. tall. The only other building that is taller is the U.S. Bank Tower located in Los Angeles, CA. The construction of the building was completed in 1985 by Howard S. Wright Construction. The original architect was Chester L. Lindsey and the design was done by Martin Selig.

Photo by K.L. Slusher

The Columbia Center went through various name changes such as the Columbia Seafirst Center and The Bank of America Tower before ultimately being called the Columbia Center. Many businesses such as banks, tech companies, and law firms are located within the building. There is also an observation deck located on the 73rd floor in the tower called the Sky View Observatory and is open to the public! So if you aren’t afraid of heights and enjoy scenic views this might be worth the trip!

Although this building is not fairly old, it surely is one of Seattle’s most iconic and recognizable buildings. Features of the building such as viscoelastic dampers and triangle shaped bracing make the Columbia Center resistant to hurricane force winds as well as earthquakes. Anyone who is interested can now purchase the Columbia center as it is currently for sale. Beacon Capital Partners bought the building for $621 million dollars in 2007 so it is speculated that the Columbia Center will sell for more than that!

In any case, the building is truly something to be marveled. The views are outstanding, the building is equally as iconic as the Space Needle, and the history of the building is in depth although the building itself is not that old!

Columbia Center Seattle, WA Picture provided by dazzlingplaces.com

Here are a few links to look at!
http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=2627

http://www.howardswright.com/projects/detail/bank-of-america-tower-formerly-columbia-seafirst-tower/

http://www.openmondays.com/colcen.html
http://www.skyviewobservatory.com/#/about

 

Gender and Historic Cemeteries

Historic cemeteries can be a huge source of information if you do enough of an analysis of them. One of the most surprising aspects of analyzing gravestones in the Calvary Cemetery in Seattle, WA was the fact that even in death, gender seemed to be represented in various forms. Everything from shapes, designs, and materials used on gravestones seemed to have a correlation with gender . Although not all of these aspects were gender exclusive there were definite patterns.

First of all, throughout the entire cemetery it appeared as though the block shape was by far the most dominant shape of gravestone in-scripted with the names of males. Many females also had block shaped gravestones although not as frequently as the males seemed to have. Contrarily, females tended to have more monument shaped gravestones than compared with males.

The designs used on the gravestones may also have been representative of gender. It seemed as though many females seemed to have flowers, angels, trees and other more feminine features on their gravestones. Males on the other hand seemed to have more items such as ships, plants, mountains, military service symbols, and more masculine features on their gravestones. Common features that were shared nearly equally on the gravestones of males and females were religious symbols such as crosses and bibles. This was not as surprising considering that many of these people most likely shared similar religious beliefs.

An analysis of the material used on the gravestones was also potentially indicative of gender. This was more difficult to interpret with accuracy because other aspects such as material availability at specific times, popularity, and cost may have been equal if not greater factors than gender when it came to deciding on the material. However, it seemed more common throughout the cemetery that males had more granite material used in their gravestones than compared with females. Females seemed to use more stone and cement in their gravestones than compared with males.

Overall, this analysis of shape, design, and material definitely seemed to correlate with gender to an extent although not every aspect was gender exclusive. Many other factors such as time period, age, religious beliefs, and popularity could potentially be reasons why certain shapes, designs, and materials were used. So in a way it is difficult to come to a fully accurate conclusion when examining gender in a cemetery setting.

The Thinker (female version)

graph

 

Garbology and Mental/ Emotional States

Sifting through someone’s garbage may not seem like the most glamorous  thing to do. However, you can tell a lot about a person just by examining the types of objects they discard in the trash. You gain insight into various aspects of their lives including daily activities such as eating and drinking. Garbology can also be used to see other aspects of a person’s life like socio-economic status, family size, gender, etc.. However, garbology can be used to to dig deeper (no pun intended) into the bigger the picture. It can be used to gain insight into how people think and feel about themselves and the world going on around them.

While examining an assemblage of garbage from an anonymous donor it was clear that this person was fairly health conscious. Many of the objects in their trash included organic or simple foods that had little to no processing such as apples. crackers, and rice. Even the beverages they consumed were healthy. From this, it could be inferred that this person cares about body image. Here in the United States, a fit person is often perceived as being beautiful and attractive. This would suggest that this person cares about how other people perceive them. Perhaps in their mind, if they eat healthy then they will be perceived as health conscious and be seen as beautiful and attractive. This indeed plays a huge role in a person’s mental as well as emotional perception of themselves.

It should also be noted that here in the United States it often said that if you eat healthy and engage in healthy activities you will feel better. This person also did not have recorded instances of drinking alcohol, smoking, excessive eating of bad foods in one sitting, or engaging in any form of self destructive behavior. Again, this gives clues into this person’s emotional and mental state because often times (not always) people will use these items as a form of escape from something that would cause unhappiness. Perhaps it might be a bit of a stretch to 100% accurately conclude these things based on one sample, but it surely does give some indication of how this person thinks and feels.

Blog Review: The Berkeley Blog

This blog (http://blogs.berkeley.edu/)  is moderated by UC Berkeley. These various blogs are definitely aimed towards professionals as well as students. This isn’t only limited to archaeologists or anthropologists. The blogs can be about nearly any academic subject. The contributors to the blogs tend to mostly be professors although it seems like a fairly wide group of people including students and other scholars may comment on the various posts. Since these blogs are moderated by people from a university,  the information is  highly informative and credible. The information is a bit dry though and perhaps could be more readily available to the general public if the blogs didn’t seem to be just exclusive to professionals, professors, and students. Otherwise the content was interesting!

Blog Review: Anthropology.net

This site (http://anthropology.net/about/) was actually really informative and fun to read. The blogs currently have three contributors and all of them have formal education through various universities and their training ranges from BA’s to PhD’s. The audience is aimed more towards professionals although anybody interested in archaeology or anthropology would find this site to be fascinating and informative. The information includes different topics including archaeology, physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology. The site is also organized very well and people are free to leave comments as well as input on various topics. Although this particular site may not be aimed at a wide audience the content is useful, informative, and very interesting!

Blog Review : Archaeology Travel

This site (http://archaeology-travel.com/blog/)   was actually pretty informative  as well as entertaining. The author of the blog is Thomas Dowson who is a professional archaeologist who gave up academic research and decided to make this website to give information on various archaeological sites throughout the world. The site also gives  insight into specific things such as cave art in France, Roman amphitheaters, etc. The audience is targeted to the general public and to those interested in archaeology and travelling. However, since Mr. Dowson is a professional archaeologist by training it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find that other professionals look at this site. There is even a section for kids! Although this particular site may not be widely viewed,  it is very thorough and definitely includes a wide span of archaeological information from all across the world.