Slavery in the Roman Empire vs. North American Colonies

In this research, I wanted to look at two different forms of slavery, one rooted in ‘ancient’ history and one which falls within the “early modern’ period, but with lasting effects which are still seen in today’s society. One of my other goals for this research was to compare the structural aspects of slavery and the ‘echoes’ from slavery in the Roman Empire to slavery in North American British Colonies. Some of the problems I faced was the not only the vast time period differences between the two, but also that other forms of slavery had also greatly impacted slavery in the North American British Colonies.

In the Roman Empire, slaves could obtain freedom much more quickly than slaves during 1600s-1800s in North America. Also, in the Roman Empire, slaves were at times educated, held status within their households and were valued by their owners. That is not to say that all slaves within the Roman Empire had access to these aspects, but they were present and common practice within Roman society. In comparison, slaves in North America were not afforded these features, they were a source of labor and, eventually in the Southern Colonies, they became essential for the economy. Furthermore, slaves during the Roman Empire were typically ‘white’ and viewed as a person/human being. While in the North American Colonies, slaves were typically black or Indian, no white person was enslaved, and slaves were typically not viewed as having the same rights as free individuals, nor were they believed to be fully human.

The slave trade which existed in the Roman Empire greatly differed from the form of slavery which the British were introduced to when obtaining slaves from Africa. What I found was that while originally having some similar structural components to slavery, like a free labor source and creating a social hierarchy, these two forms of slavery had different cultural, social and political aspects and values. In today’s society individuals like Whitney Battle-Baptiste examine not only the slave narratives, but also how archaeology can be used to reform ideas about slavery and how it impacts current communities today.

Preserving the Past Together Workshop: Owning One’s History

Often archaeology is taught and viewed from the side of a university, indigenous people and groups are often viewed as passive agents and are sources of information. That information is extracted and used for the benefit of the universities rather than the tribe. The direct descendants or cultural descendants of a community are often not the ones uncovering and publicizing information and discoveries about archaeological sites. This separates indigenous groups not only from their history but from modern society, when someone else is writing their history it’s easy for others to forget their existence and remember them as something belonging to the past. The Meaningful Collaboration workshop was a brilliant educational reminder of these facts.

As a student of archaeology I believe these workshops explore important aspects to the discipline which have either been ignored or unidentified as sources of conflict between indigenous groups and archaeologist. Instead of extracting information archaeologist should work alongside, or even for, indigenous groups to build relevant knowledge for these groups. As scientific the discipline wants to appear, when working with descendant populations the information uncovered does not belong to the archaeologist, it belongs to tribe. When gathering information it is important to consider how one is interacting with indigenous groups, the Modes of Interaction chart shown during the workshop, highlights what these different modes look like, from one of colonial control to one of indigenous control. Personally I believe that either a mode of indigenous control or one of collaboration should be used depending on the situation. Although overall an archaeologist should strive to work for an indigenous group, rather than working for their own benefit. One of the most important questions that this workshop raised for me was how archaeology should be conducted to be beneficial to those it effects the most.


This embossed glass food bottle (45KI765/M-42) was made between 1888-1946, although given the time that the site was filled was 1929, it most likely was manufactured between 1888 and 1929. I was unable to find which exact Heinz product it contained, although it most likely was a condiment, given the company. Despite the fact that the bottle bares resemblance e to one manufactured from 1876-1888, it does not have a “F&J” embossed on the side of it leading me to believe that it was manufactured after John, Heinz’ brother sold his shares of the company in 1888. Heinz then renamed the business the H.J. Heinz Co. which is the embossed lettering on the side of the bottle. This bottle was most likely used in a household or a restaurant, and considering that the other bottles in the dump indicate a household rather than a business, this leads me to believe that the bottle most likely was used in a household.

Who is loved more after death?

In researching the usage of kinship terminology in epitaphs I discovered from the data gathered by our class that: Mother is recorded 16 times, Father is recorded 14 times, Wife 5 times, Sister 3, Daughter 7, Grandmother 2, Aunt 1, Husband 3, and Son 4. The use of Father as an epitaph occurs most during the time period from 1945 to 1960. On the other hand Mother ranges from 1821 to 2006, with no discernible time period where it occurs the most. Wife seems to be used in the early 1900’s, while husband seems to be used more in the 1950s to 1960s. Daughter and son are both less frequent that Mother and Father, but seem to be used from 1821 up until 20015, at varying intervals. From comparing the data, there isn’t one set shape for any of the gravestones, although many independent of the epitaphs are block or tablet shaped. And the material composition of the gravestone and the use of particular kinship terminology don’t seem to have any strong correlations between the two. Although it can be assumed that many of the gravestones are wither made out of marble or granite, as earlier analysis showed that those two materials were used the most in making gravestones. Overall the data shows that women, especially Mothers are more likely to have epitaphs stating their relationship to those who bury them. Although Fathers are not far behind. These two kinship terminologies make up 55% of the epitaphs regarding kinship within the data collected. And terminology regarding women make up 62% of kinship related epitaphs.

Displaying IMG_0815.JPG

Graph displaying Kinship epitaphs and the years which they were used.


The most enlightening information I gained from this project was just how absurd Excel and technology can be when trying to graph information, and attempting seriation by hand is not advisable.

From a Lumber Mill’s Grocery to a Neapolitan Pizzeria

Modern satellite image

First built in the early 1900’s Taylor Mill’s Grocery appeared along Lake Washington’s Southern shore. Built and owned by Stanford Taylor, who ran a lumber mill around present day Rainier Avenue, the small grocery store supplied food and other goods for the 100 mill workers and their families which lived in the surrounding area. Taylor Mill’s Grocery, located at “the corner of 68th and Rainier,” served the community not just as a grocery store but also “as [a] post office, watering hole, and unofficial community center.” It was a surprisingly successful grocery store in the developing Rainier Beach region, and managed to stay open into the 1930’s.

The Barlows-Lakeside Tavern

After officially closing in 1937, the building remained mostly unused. In the 1950’s the building was converted into the Lakeside Tavern, becoming an official ‘watering hole’ for the Rainier Beach community. During the years between the 1930’s and 50’s, the building switched ownership and by the time the tavern was opened by the Barlow family the building was owned by the Punsala family. The tavern remained in operation for over 40 years, and was a well-known bar in the Rainier beach region, if the number of patrons returning to the now Pizzeria recounting stories of drunken absurdity is anything to go by. The tavern was also well known due to the fact that the sign hanging outside on the side of the building was upside down. Vince Mottola, current owner of Pizzeria Pulcinella, recounts the disagreement between the owner of the Lakeside Tavern, Mr. Barlow, and the man installing the sign, stating that the two came to a disagreement over payment and in protest over receiving only half of the agreed payment the man installing the sign flipped one side of it upside down and refused to correct it unless he was paid the other half. Exhausted by the repeated exchanges between the sign company and himself, the owner left the sign upside down and from then on it was known throughout the community as the tavern with the upside-down sign, a tradition that Pizzeria Pulcinella’s owners honor and they continue the tradition with their own sign.

The building remained vacant for over 10 years slowly deteriorating away, until the Mottola Family, which have owned and operated the Vince’s Italian restaurant chain for around 60 years, chose to expand their business and open an authentic and verified, Neapolitan style Pizzeria in December of 2008. Surprising many in the community as it was rumored that the Punsala family who owned the building (also known as Kamagon Associate LLC), were going to have the building torn down. But luckily Vince convinced
the owners to allow him and his other business partners, Fred Martichuski and David Dorough, to open a restaurant instead. Not only have they preserved the building itself, but also, they have managed to install the previous Lakeside Tavern’s sign inside of their restaurant preserving its history as well. Pizzeria Pulcinella has now been in operation for over 8 years and “has been ‘certified Neapolitan’ by the Verace Pizza Napolitana Association since 2009.” And hopefully it will be open for many more!

Garbology: How the Present Day Informs Us About the Past

This week in our Lab we looked at personal recordings of trash disposal. In both recording my own data and reviewing another one of my classmate’s (Eshmun), I quickly discovered how looking at someone’s trash is both informative and deceptive. In both our garbage cans and in middens from a previous human settlement, only the unwanted items of a person’s or village’s life are left behind. We can see partially what they consumed and perhaps even what they used to cook and eat their meals with, but it is not often that we can see the items saved and not discarded. In the past there is a lack of how they obtained those items, did they grow/farm them, gather them, hunt them, fish for them, perhaps even trade for them? But in modern times some of these questions are easily answered, the food was mostly procured at a grocery store, recipes can show which particular store it was bought at, and particularly for this seven day recording period, a pattern can sometimes be discerned. What’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner are easily noticeable with a general understanding of American food culture. An individual’s personal preferences and behaviors, like a love for coffee (or perhaps a requirement for it), can almost create an image of that individual’s daily routine. I believe analyzing what and how we currently understand present day behaviors allows us to in turn question previous cultures’ and societies’ behaviors, especially pertaining to food. Why did they eat this, when during the day did they eat this, why did they eat this during this period of the day, and etcetera. It’s also interesting to consider the differences between a self reported document and the physical items discovered, and how both can lack information pertaining to the individual. Not only does the study of garbology help us in understanding the present day and our future, but for archaeologist it also helps to generate new questions and perspectives about how we understand the past as well.

About Me: Timper

Hello, my name is Timper, with an “i” not an “e”. I am in my junior year here at the University of Washington and I am majoring in History and Archaeology. I’d like to further study colonialism and its effects by specifically looking at the ‘political’ relationships between Europeans and the Indigenous peoples residing within the Americas. Although European Medieval History is a great interest of mine as well. A majority of my life has been spent here in the PNW, although my teenage years were mostly spent in the UK attending secondary school.

Aptly named Hannibal for all the horrible deeds she has committed.

Aptly named Hannibal for all the horrible deeds she has committed.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time reading and playing with my dog Hannibal. I have a passion for history, archaeology and anything related to the Lord of the Rings (it should be noted that I wrote a 25 page paper on Homo floresiensis just because they are called ‘hobbits’).