Test Excavations and Interpretations, con't

Selected pre-Civil War era artifacts recovered at 13DB496Two specimens classified as personal accouterments may represent the archaeological signature of relationships between the site’s residents and local Meskwaki Indians during the territorial period. One specimen is a copper or brass thimble that bears the relief-molded motto “FORGET ME NOT” (Figure 5, E). The crown of the thimble has been punched from the inside out, producing a hole about 5 mm in diameter. Similar specimens have been found at a historic Winnebago burial in Chickasaw County. Presumably the hole permitted suspension from a cord, producing a decorative ornament that could be worn or attached to clothing. How the thimble arrived at the site cannot be inferred, but it was probably flattened sometime after loss. A small loop of iron wire may represent a second type of Native American decorative ornament (Figure 5, F). Both of these specimens originally may have been traded to local Meskwakis by other Euro-Americans.

Hand forged iron hardware was rare in the 13DB496 collections, with only four recognizable specimens. The recovered specimens include a bridle or harness part (Figure 5, O), a rose head bolt, and two barrel strap fragments. Rose head bolts are large bolts with angular dome-shaped heads commonly used in wagons and large implements. 

Personal accouterments include several ball clay pipe fragments similar to specimens recovered from the previously excavated shovel tests (Figure 5, P–R). The pipe fragments include plain and decorated bowl and stem fragments, representing portions of Dublin style pipes, which have the bowl set at an obtuse angle to the stem. The 13DB496 pipes were produced from both white and red-buff pastes, with the white specimens probably representing imported European pipes. The red-buff pipe fragment may have been produced in America. 

The excavations also yielded numerous bone fragments, but most were small and unidentifiable. Some of the bone fragments exhibited saw-cut surfaces, cut marks, or charring. A few were identifiable to element and species. The identifiable elements included cattle vertebrae, ribs, and metatarsals; pig vertebrae, ulnae, scapula, patella phalanx and teeth; and chicken long bone. The most common modification type was saw-cutting, usually appearing on vertebrae and ribs. It is likely that all the bone fragments represent food consumed at the site with the saw cut specimens associated with late nineteenth and twentieth century use of the site, when commercially butchered meat became commonly available. Specimens with cut marks may represent home-butchered animals that were consumed during earlier periods. 

Ceramics and glassware in the kitchen assemblage represent the majority of the territorial period materials. Both refined wares, such as whiteware, ironstone, and pearlware, and utilitarian wares like stoneware, redware, and yellowware were identified (Figures 6 and 7; see glossary, below). Pre-Civil war ceramics in the test excavations include hand painted whiteware, (Figure 5 G, N); “old blue” (Figure 2, K), black, light blue, and red transfer printed sherds (Figure 5 J, L); Galena production redware; pearlware (Figure 2, H); shell-edge; and spatter decorated sherds. Other early ceramics encountered in the test excavations include sherds of yellowware, mocha-decorated whiteware, and a distinctive, refined redware known as Jackfield ware. The early glass artifacts included lead glass or crystal container fragments, a free-blown clear bottle fragment, and an olive green fragment. Late nineteenth century ceramics include purple, brown, and green transfer printed whiteware (Figure 5, I, M), ironstone and porcelain.