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Behind Closed Doors: An Introduction and Case Study from a 19th-century Boston brothel

Author(s): Amanda Johnson

Year: 2014

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This paper serves at the introductory paper for the symposium Behind Closed Doors: Exploring taboo subjects in historical archaeology. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief introduction to the topics addressed in this symposium, focusing particularly on prostitution and feminine hygiene. Following the introduction, this paper will address the author’s own theoretical perspective concerning the analysis of these subjects through the use of a case study. The case study will focuses on the 27/29 Endicott Street Privy, which is associated with a mid-19th-century brothel in Boston, Massachusetts. Recent archaeological analyses of artifacts associated with this brothel are beginning to shed new light on the inner workings of Victorian brothels, including the consumption of alcohol. The case study focuses on artifacts associated with the consumption of alcohol that were recovered from the privy and examines how they can be interpreted within the historic and social context of the brothel.

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Behind Closed Doors: An Introduction and Case Study from a 19th-century Boston brothel. Amanda Johnson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437005)

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PaperId(s): SYM-46,01

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