After unearthing over 200 wig hair curlers from Washington’s Boyhood Home, we were in a position to do something that - to our knowledge - has never been done before: crossmend all those curler fragments. As a result, we can now predict the minimum number of curlers the Washington family’s harried hairdressers needed. If you … Continue reading How Many Curlers did a Harried Hairdresser Need? Let’s Do the Math!
Here on Lives & Legacies we’ve shown you a variety of important tasks that take place inside the Archaeology Lab at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. You’ve seen how we wash, catalog, label, and then mend vessels with archival glue. One goal of all this work is to piece together whole artifacts from the many broken … Continue reading Inside the Archaeology Lab: Putting Artifacts on Exhibit
In this video, we discuss the importance of using archival glue to mend artifacts and demonstrate the process used to make this special glue. For information about the safe use of these chemicals, visit http://www.collectioncare.org/MSDS/b72MSDS.pdf
In this video, we show you how archaeologists piece together artifacts in order to learn about the object and, most importantly, the people who used the object.
While living at Ferry Farm, Mary Washington, mother of George, owned a creamware punch bowl with beautiful hand-painted enamel depicting a floral motif and cherry accents. Archaeologists excavated pieces of this bowl from the cellar of the Washington home and subsequently discovered glue residue on the sherds. We've written about the importance of the bowl's discovery here … Continue reading Photos: Glue Through a Microscope
As an archaeologist, I am often asked “What is the coolest thing you’ve ever found?” The answer is complicated. Although I’ve unearthed 10,000 year old Paleoindian hearths, elaborate porcelains, coins, long lost jewelry, and ancient stone tools, I say that the coolest thing I’ve ever found is …. glue. This proclamation always elicits questioning looks … Continue reading Glue: The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Found
Here at Ferry Farm for the last 13 years, professional archaeologists have been exploring the local landscape, digging hundreds of excavation units in their quest to reveal the history of all those who lived here, including, of course, the Washington family. Their investigative efforts have resulted in a multitude of artifacts dating from the earliest … Continue reading After Digging: What Happens in the Archaeology Lab?
Archaeologists sometimes recreate technology from the past to understand how people lived. This is called experimental archaeology. When archaeologists at George Washington's Ferry Farm found glue residue on sherds of Mary Washington's china, they developed ways to recreate this glue. This video explains the glue making process and what recreating the glues revealed about Mary. … Continue reading The Science of History: Experimental Archaeology & Colonial Cheese Glue
What do archaeologists do with the broken ceramic and glass artifacts after these objects have been excavated, cleaned, and catalogued? They are cool to look at but what do these little pieces actually tell us about the past? How can we use them to understand the lives of those who purchased, used, and eventually discarded … Continue reading Mending Those Humble Sherds