45K1765/P9-13; Who used this medicinal bottle in (aprox) 1892?


Sitting on the cold, analytical table of our lab, stands (not too tall) a little glass bottle named ” 45K1765/P9-13″. It’s body mostly whole, it’s colorless but opaque glass showing the signs of having been dumped and sealed under mud for years near the waterfront…

Some could argue that bolder and more “alcoholic looking bottles” would be more interesting to look at, but in the midst of all these beer and wine containers that were found on what used to be a massive dump for local businesses at 6th ave S, which was sealed in 1929, I find bottles destined for different purposes than being drunk at the end of a long day.

Because as we’ve learned throughout this class (especially through feminist archaeology) is that regarding the whole story other than the mere stereotype is essential for holding knowledge as a constructed , shared value.

And where am I going with all of this, you might ask? Well, have heard of how Seattle “was like” at the sea line in “the olden days”… If I close my eyes,  I can see muddy streets, underground tunnels with gambling and prostitution, bars and hotels filled with people still on their way to the Yukon to test their luck, and mostly a lot of drinking and passing out happening.

This might be true, but can also attribute a single face to those working class people who would inhabit those neighborhoods. That is why, through the Lag analyze I did on the bottles of my group, and the specific study of this particular bottle, I will try to discern what it was used for (if it was medicinal at all) and who might have used it.

  • What type of bottle is it and what did it contain?

This is a small cylindrical bottle, with colorless and slightly opaque glass, machine made with wide mouth which we believe may have been of medicinal use or in other generations, of miscellaneous use. It most likely held medicine or medicinal plants/pharmaceutical elementary material, but we are not a 100% sure! that is why it is interesting to look at.

  • When and where was the item manufactured?

We believe it was manufactured between the 1880’s and 1930’s, which would give it a mean production date of 1905. We are not sure where it was manufactured since there were no specific signs that could give us a clue.

  • Can you find any information concerning how the product was marketed and/or consumed? 

There is a valve mark, and the opening of the bottle shows signs of having had a tap that would be screwed on (like a little jam bottle). The wide opening of the bottle with no neck visible, gives us the idea that it might not have been used for drinking directly from the bottle, but it must have used to store the content, and then pour it somewhere else.

  • Who might have used the bottle and what contexts of use would you expect 

I believe this bottle could have been used in any local business, (ranging from a bar to a pharmacy or a hotel.) Because we are not a 100% sure if it was medicinal or used for other household needs such as holding food, we could imagine that it might have belonged to a business that required a kitchen and perhaps hosting people over, with more equipment than a simple bar. I can’t imagine a single individual carrying it around, it must have been used in a more “touristy” setting!





The Life of Lucy Foster

My final project for my Historical Archaeology course is a personal narrative formed by historical records and an assemblage recovered from a site in Andover, MA. The site is called the Lucy Foster Homesite, also known as “Black Lucy’s Garden”, which was excavated in 1942 by Ripley and Adelaide Bullen (Martin, 107). The areas that were excavated were the cellar hole, dump, well, vegetable cellar, and lumbermen’s shack on Lucy Fosters acre (Martin, 107). Although these areas all contributed to Lucy’s daily life in someway the only portion of Lucy’s home that still existed was the cellar hole (Martin, 107). The assemblage recovered from this site include material culture that is linked to socializing, labor, and food resources. In the past there has been a lot of focus on the ceramics from this assemblage because it is quite large. They recovered 113 reconstructed ceramics from the Lucy Foster Homesite (Martin, 107). Most of which were serving dishes.

It may seem obvious that Lucy Foster was entertaining members of her community based on the significant amount of serving dishes in this assemblage. But the original response to this assemblage was, how did she acquire such a large collection living in poverty? Assuming she lived in poverty because she was black and received financial assistance from the parish. But I think we are missing a major part of her life by only focusing on how she came to have this collection. I believe it is more important to know what she was doing with her ceramics and why a large collection would be important to her. This brings me to my goal for this project. I want to highlight the racial bias that is layered into the interpretation of Lucy Foster and her life. In return I would also like to offer an interpretation that recognizes her ability to cope with adversity and survive. In order to do this I will need to write two personal narratives from both perspectives. It is my hope that seeing these perspectives side by side may encourage others to identify the layers of bias that are woven into historical records and research. By recognizing these biases we can develop more accurate interpretations of the past and create an opportunity for communities to heal from the pain created by these distorted perspectives.

Works Cited

Martin, Anthony. “Homeplace Is Also Workplace: Another Look at Lucy Foster in Andover, Massachusetts.” Historical Archaeology, vol. 52, no. 1, 2018, pp. 100–112.

Visualizing a Memory

This week in class we told a personal story using a two minute video. I chose to focus on a particular painting of mine that always makes me think of a childhood home and why those memories are bittersweet. This was a very difficult assignment for me because I am awful with technology! The video is simple but I hope it tells my story effectively. Enjoy:

Sunset Peak

For this project I decided to make a video about one of my favorite places in Hong Kong, Sunset peak. When people think of Hong Kong they imagine a tightly packed city full of skyscrapers; no one every really envisions it as having much in the way of country parks and natural areas. Hopefully this video will dispel some of that and give you a chance to see some of Hong Kongs natural beauty.

The Story of My Family

This week we were instructed to make a digital story based on our family history. I chose to tell the story of how my family was formed. Specifically the way in which we met each other and how we grew to love each other. This story is important to me because my family is the most important part of my life. They are the people that have made me who I am and keep me grounded. This is the story of our beautifully diverse and wonderfully complicated family.


On the Water

Everytime I pass by a river or stream, I scan the water thinking about where the fish might be lurking. It’s a habit springing from years of fly fishing with my mom and dad in the Yellowstone region of Montana and Wyoming. Fly fishing has become an essential part of every summer for me––a time to enjoy beautiful places with people I love, while plying the water for unsuspecting fish.

Just in my lifetime, the past time of fly fishing has changed drastically: dozens more fishermen are on the water in Yellowstone and elsewhere in the West every year. It’s painful for me to see banks trampled down and tangles of discarded fly line in once-quiet fishing spots, but the increased interest in the sport means there’s also increased attention on the environment and natural resource protection. I’d like to think I am part of a generation of fishers who see the catastrophic threat of climate change to the waterways of the American West, and who help bring about meaningful policy and regulation to protect those waters and their environs.

This digital short tells my personal story of fly fishing –– an activity I love as much for the ritual as for the chance to be around the most important people in my life.

Hiking in the PNW

I decided to make a video about my favorite thing to do (besides archaeology!), hiking. I think the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and a few moments up in the mountains away from the city is a great tonic for pretty much anything. I try to get out of the Seattle area as often as I can, but life can get very busy sometimes. These are all clips I have taken in the last year or so from some of my favorite hikes. Hopefully I can make some new ones soon!

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.

Connections Through Cooking

For the digital story telling lab/ blog post, I chose to tell about how I developed a passion for cooking. With the assignment falling around Thanksgiving break, I knew I would be in the kitchen, and with an influx of free labor (my roommate’s little brother was visiting, so I convinced him to act as cinematographer/ camera-guy), I was able to get decent B-roll. I spent a good deal of time closed up in my closet and covered in a blanket in order to cancel out street and neighbor noise on the voice-over, but all in all, I’m happy with the final product.

Why I am in this field

For my digital storytelling assignment, I chose to talk about me and my apa’urlaq (Yup’ik for grandfather).  He led an interesting and full life which had a huge impact on me and my education.  He was one of the first Alaskan Natives to graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Taught himself French, German, and was fluent in several Yup’ik dialects.  Unfortunately I did not learn much about my Native roots from him and by the time I wanted to learn, it was too late.  This has really driven me to pursue learning about cultural traditions and cultural preservation.