Shards of Medical History: Artifacts from the Point San Jose Hospital Medical Waste Pit
Author(s): Angela Locke Barton
While monitoring lead remediation activities around historic buildings at Point San Jose (now Fort Mason) in 2010, National Park Service archaeologists discovered thousands of human bones in a medical waste pit behind the former hospital. Large numbers of medical artifacts, primarily medicinal bottle shards, were also recovered from the pit. Many of these medicinal bottles were produced by the U.S. Army Hospital Department for a limited time during the Civil War (1862-1865). Such precise manufacturing dates help to firmly establish the terminus post quem for the pit. This assortment of Hospital Department bottles is rare in the archaeological record. Other medicinal bottles, alcoholic beverage containers, administrative supply bottles, food waste, and a few personal items including buttons, tobacco pipes, and one hair oil bottle comprise the remainder of the collection. In addition to establishing a date for the deposit, the specific nature of these artifacts may help to explain why the pit was created, as well as contribute to our understanding of late 19th century military medical practice.
Cite this Record
Shards of Medical History: Artifacts from the Point San Jose Hospital Medical Waste Pit. Angela Locke Barton. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444400)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -124.189; min lat: 31.803 ; max long: -105.469; max lat: 43.58 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21548