Scratching the Surface: New Discoveries Within Old Archeological Collections

Author(s): Alicia Paresi; Jessica Costello; Nicole Estey

Year: 2016


Here in the NMSC archeology lab, we are privileged to work with archeological collections from national parks across the Northeast.  Many of these collections were excavated before 1987, and in many cases, sat untouched and unutilized in storage until they were eligible for cataloging funds.  We have seen firsthand the incredible research potential – unknown and untapped for decades – that these collections offer.  One memorable collection from Petersburg National Battlefield was excavated in 1983 and cataloged 29 years later by NMSC.  This excavation yielded a largely undisturbed and tightly dated feature that produced an assemblage of mid-18th century artifacts, including sherds of creamware with scratch-blue decoration.  Preliminary research on these sherds suggests that they may be a product of the Scottish tobacco trade, and may represent some of the earliest creamware ever excavated on an American archeological site.  Imagine what other surprises are waiting to be discovered in old archeological collections!

Cite this Record

Scratching the Surface: New Discoveries Within Old Archeological Collections. Alicia Paresi, Jessica Costello, Nicole Estey. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434287)


Creamware NPS XRF

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 449