Brewing up the past

As I reflect on the research I have done for this project and what it means in my own life, I feel a closeness to the centuries past, that I am not quite sure I have felt before. When I taste my Hefe-Weizen clone of one of the oldest surviving wheat beer recipes, I can imagine that many were drinking something extremely similar in a Bavarian tavern 400 years ago. I can imagine them making the beer as well, perhaps with less overall knowledge of the chemistry going on, but nevertheless the same exact process.

Homebrewed clone of the Paulaner Hefe-Weizen recipe

Through chemical analysis of beer residue throughout history, we know that there were fermented grains being utilized for many thousands of years. However, what kinds of other ingredients, brewing processes and experimentation they had to do is still very much obscured. Through the texts and archaeological data I have looked at, I believe beer was very much perfected in the 15th and 16th centuries. They had found the very meticulous process (that is still being used today), they knew how fermentation worked and they knew a good beer consisted of grain, water and hops. It is very much thousands of years of experimentation that led to this modernization of beer. This beer I am drinking, the beer that was being drunk in Germany centuries ago and the beers that are going to be drank in the future are all due to the experimenters of the past, who were brave enough to venture out into the unknown. I believe it is our job to continue the legacy of those experimenters, by upholding the magnificent process they handed down to us and by continuing to exploring the boundaries of what is possible with this wonderful process we call fermentation.

Imperfections – will they be missed?

As a beer drinker I go through many many bottles, probably too many… but I recycle, I promise! What I’m trying to say is I encounter bottles on a daily bases, many breweries these days design their own bottles that differ quite a bit from the narrow-mouth brown/green bottles we are all used to. New designs include embossing the brewery names or logos on the bottles, adding embossed designs, bands and patterns and etching information about the beer and brewery right into the glass! While these are all very neat, after working with some historic glass, I realized they lack a bit of ingenuity and uniqueness.

Most bottles we encountered in our historic glasswares lab included debri on the inside, breaks and cracks, imperfections, wear and tear, etc. All of these faults gave each bottle its own unique look and feel, and also it’s own story. How did each bottle get these imperfections during manufacture? How did each bottle get all these cracks? What can this debri tell us, is it just the remnants of an unfinished product or was it used multiple times?

One bottle that certainly has a story to tell is 45KI765/M-10. This is most likely an ale bottle that is green with a crown finish. While it has mold seams all the way through the finish; signifying a machine finish, the exterior has many imperfections as well an orange peel texture. The imperfections, like waves moving over the body of the bottle, seem to be almost intentional; creating this wave pattern design – it is very very unique! Being a bottle with a machine finish with many imperfections I would date it to the very early 20th century. The makers mark reads; “JL & Co LTD 684”, however online searches didn’t yield any results outside of finding that most JL & Co bottles were made pre-WWI. I would assume this bottle held a common beverage; soda or beer. However I am curious to the life story of the bottle. Despite being a common beverage bottle, whoever drank it must have seen that the imperfections made a delightful pattern that might have been rare in bottles of that time. I am curious if that person considered saving it, if they noticed it’s uniqueness or if this is only a trait that we start noticing once all our bottles are manufactured flawlessly.

-Roman Chichian

Achieving meaningful collaborations

In the second workshop of the Preserving the Past Together Seminar Series, there were presentations separated by break out sessions. What stood out to me was the conversations that we had during the break out sessions. I was in a group with several people that worked for tribes, people that worked for the state in planning, heritage managers and a few others. I believe we were all there with a similar vision in mind for the future; restoring sovereignty and authority to indigenous peoples in respect to their cultural heritage, acknowledging the fact that colonialism has never ended. However the perspectives and attitudes of all the individuals participating was vastly varied. The students in the group were excited and optimistic that we were having these discussions and we were focusing on these topics in our classes. While many individuals working for the tribe seemed to share optimism with the students, they were the first ones to point out that they are still felt very helpless when it came to working with people outside the tribe, weather it be firms or universities. They pointed out that they could create barriers for outsiders to pass, but they could not stop any work from being done on tribal related cultural property, it would be done eventually – no matter what. While this was a bit disheartening to hear, it is a sign that there is still a long road ahead of us to refining and strengthening this collaborative system. From my own experience in our educational system I feel confident that the future will bring stronger relationships and more care for the culture of those around us. It is exciting to be alive during a critical turning point for cultural preservation in north america and to be part of these invaluable discussions.

Calvary Cemetery, a place of history

I happened to find myself in Calvary Cemetery on a crisp cold January morning, tasked with recording data of gravestones, I finished scribbling down some notes before taking a moment to enjoy the golden rays of the sunrise fall over the view of U-Village. Cemeteries can be some of the most peaceful, beautiful places in our sprawling metal and glass cities. They are very much tied into human antiquity, while the city is built up and torn down around, the heavy stones stand strong in the cemetery, every one a signature of a life passed on.

After reviewing the compiled data, it is evident that human life ebbs and flows throughout time. No one period of time had the same style or type of stone, each stone holds information of who is buried there, who they loved and who loved them, what was going on in the world at the time, and so much more. The spike of deaths from 1920 to 1950 stands out very clearly in the histogram below, why this influx of burials during this time? Well, WWII and the adverse effect it had on the world is the clear answer, however other leading factors may have included; influenza, tuberculosis and a number of other diseases. It is quite interesting the way local graveyards show signs of world wide events.

The following chart accounts for frequency of gravestone material types compiled from our class data. It reflects the frequency of death as well. During the 1940s it is interesting that there is a small spike in cement, which might account for the large amounts of burials happening in the 1940s and possibly the inability to afford higher-end stones for a portion of the population.


Frequency of gravestone material types at Calvary Cemetery

Basking in the panorama of the cascades

In the late 19th century realtors seeking out waterfront property in Seattle named an east side neighborhood Madrona, after the identically-named tree. In 1919 a single floor house was built located at a corner of the Madrona woods, at what is now 38th Ave. and East Columbia St. The house was well located with a fantastic view of Lake Washington as well as the Cascades from Gordon Ridge all the way to Mount Rainier! Being built only 30 years after the first house was erected in Madrona, it has had a long history in the neighborhood and is now a much different building than when it was first created. Aerial photographs from 1936 show a tiny structure obscured in the shadow of neighboring trees. 80 years later similar aerial photographs show a sizable building along with a lot of other development around.


1936 Aerial Photo



2016 Aerial Photo



1997 Remodeling Plans





While it is not clear how many changes happened between 1919 and 1997, remodeling plans from November of 1997 show the addition of an entire second floor with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 decks. Remodeling plans from 2002 show the upstairs master bedroom being converted into two separate bedrooms, with the addition of a closet and the removal of one of the two upstairs decks. The small office on the first floor seems to be the only room to be left in its original form from the pre-1997 design of the home.

2002 Remodeling Plans

Sales histories from 1997 to now confirm at least five different owners, including my family. My family bought and moved into this home in late 2011, since then my mother, brother and I have lived here. Pre-1997 documentation of the home is lacking and it seems that there were many address changes as well. I was not able to find mention of the original architect or occupants. I am glad to be enjoying the beautiful home, neighborhood and views just as every occupant previously has done. – RC

3761 E. Columbia St. as it stands today








View from the top deck

What your garbage can tell about you

You receive a list of refuse collected over a week, documented by a member of a house, that is all you know so far. What can you find out about this person and their household from their trash?

Well it turns out quite a bit… You can tell what kind of nutrition they are getting, what kind of medication they are taking, how much caffeine they drink, how much alcohol they are using to balance against the caffeine, what they like to cook and eat, what kind of appliances they are using in their household, how many roommates they have, how many pets they are cleaning up after, what they do in their free time, what kind of entertainment they are consuming, what their interests are, what part of town they live in and the list goes on and on.

It just happens that little bits of our life are left in the trash on a daily bases, if you take the time to look through someones trash you might just get to know them quite well. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself! I was doubtful when trying this myself, but some thoughtful analyzing brought me heaps of information, all from a small bag of refuse. We might be “what we eat”, but even more than that “we are what we throw away.”

Hello from Roman


Hi there, my name is Roman Chichian, I am a senior anthropology student here at UW. I’ve lived in Seattle for almost 16 years now, although I was born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and lived in Istanbul and Moscow before moving here with my mother and brother. With lack of direction, my travels across the world have helped me settle with anthropology as my major, as a result ive had some fantastic anthro classes both at Seattle Central and here at UW, I couldn’t ask for a more engaging major. I am also studying Russian this year and trying to find more about myself and my roots, there is something about Slavic cultures that is very agreeable with me(besides the booze of course). In my free time I am a music enthusiast and collector, I brew beer, run, snowboard and enjoy long backpacking treks.