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Buttoning Up at the Biry House A Study of Clothing Fasteners of a Descendant Alsatian Household

Author(s): Maxwell Forton

Year: 2016

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Excavations at the Biry house of Castroville, Texas yielded a large assemblage of buttons, which may be studied to yield a better understanding of the lives of Alsatian immigrants within the community. Buttons represent a class of material objects that are simultaneously intimate and utilitarian in nature. While buttons are used on a daily basis, we remain largely aloof to these small, discrete fasteners in our lives. This paper represents an exercise in discerning the information that buttons and other clothing fasteners might yield on the lives of past peoples and the communities they created and lived in. As buttons are the "fossils" of the clothing world, (preserving while the rest of the garment decays), we might call upon them to reveal the clothing choices of the Biry household. From this understanding, themes of economic selection, negotiations of identity, and the personal history of the Biry family might be addressed.


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Buttoning Up at the Biry House A Study of Clothing Fasteners of a Descendant Alsatian Household. Maxwell Forton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434707)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 362

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America