The Revoloutionary War «USA» Button: A Study in Qualitative Archaeology

Author(s): David Orr

Year: 2014


After many seasons of archaeology in the camp sites of Valley Forge , Pennsylvania, several types of buttons were discovered with just the intertwined letters «USA» depicted on their surfaces. Several years ago a very particular type of «USA» button was found which also had the date «1777» under the «USA» letters. What does this mean? This design was radical and innovative at the time in comparison to all military buttons of its type.Other questions were also suggested: is it referencing the birth of a new nation, a citizen army, a new group identity?This paper will probe the interpretations of this single object and discuss how excellent archaeological context can reveal exciting inferences from the past. Symbolic roles will also be advanced. This paper depended on the close cooperation of the volunteer group BRAVO (under Dan Sivilich)who actually revealed the button in question.

Cite this Record

The Revoloutionary War «USA» Button: A Study in Qualitative Archaeology. David Orr. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436718)

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PaperId(s): SYM-14,16