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Contradictory Food: Dining in a New York Brothel c. 1840s

Author(s): Claudia Milne ; Pamela Crabtree

Year: 2016

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The faunal assemblages excavated from New York City’s Five Points neighborhood provided an opportunity to examine the foodways of the city’s 19th century working class.  One distinct Orange Street deposit was associated with a brothel which operated in the early 1840s and seemed to reflect the contradictory nature of this occupation.  While some food choices reflected the working class nature of the neighborhood, other finer foods, were selected for fancy feasts, to entertain guests or for public consumption.     In the 20 years since the Five Points excavation, brothel assemblages have been identified in other major North American cities. This opportunity to reexamine the food remains from the Orange Street brothel in context with other brothel assemblages may provide a pattern recognizable in other brothel or boarding house assemblages.  

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Cite this Record

Contradictory Food: Dining in a New York Brothel c. 1840s. Claudia Milne, Pamela Crabtree. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434961)


Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 479

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