Walls Have Ears, Bottles Have Mouths

Author(s): Robert VanderHeiden; John D. Richards

Year: 2017


Material culture can generally be interpreted using three broad perspectives that view objects as historical documents, commodities, or ideas. The analysis of glass bottles from historic archaeological contexts provides an especially compelling example of the utility of this approach. Bottle manufacturers often kept detailed records of changes in design, decoration, and style. As a result, glass bottles encode a wealth of information and can often be used to gauge the degree of connectedness that seemingly isolated sites may have had to the outside world. This poster illustrates how bottles recovered from the McHugh site, a mid-to-late 19th century Irish-American farmstead in northeastern Wisconsin, help to historicize the site’s occupation. Moreover, despite the site’s remote location on the Wisconsin frontier, analysis of the glass bottle assemblage reveals the McHugh site occupants as active participants in an extra-regional economic network.

Cite this Record

Walls Have Ears, Bottles Have Mouths. Robert VanderHeiden, John D. Richards. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435551)

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Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
Mid-to-Late 19th Century

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): 188