tv Museum of the American Revolution Archaeology CSPAN July 2, 2017 10:00pm-10:46pm EDT
6,an3 this thursday, july for a live program from the new museum of the american revolution in philadelphia. we'll be joined by top museum staff to learn about their artifacts and exhibits, and they will field your questions on the american revolution. next, we learn about artifacts discovered during the construction of the museum in philadelphia which is two blocks from independence hall. >> before constructing the museum, a team of archaeologists excavated the site a few blocks from independence hall and in the process eventually uncovered about 82,000 independent artifacts. up next on american history tv's "american artifacts," we will see a series of these objects and learn about the history of philadelphia from the 18th century up to the 1940's. >> i'm scott stevenson, vice president of exhibitions and
programming at the museum of the american revolution in philadelphia. rebecca: i was the principal archaeologist of excavation of the site before the building was built. scott: we are actually standing about 25 feet below land surface if you are walking down chestnut street from independence hall toward the delaware river and come to the corner of third and chestnut streets, we are about 20 or 30 feet underground right now. this is the site where the excavations were done for the new museum. rebecca: and i spent plenty of time in the dirt on this very same site, so it's fascinating to be in this building that exists that we were out there with our shovels and hardhats and screens and the whole shebang. that is what urban archaeology is.
scott: this is a map done in 1863. this is the earliest engraved map that shows the town laid out by william penn for philadelphia, the capital of pennsylvania. and this little square here is actually the footprint of the building we're standing in here. as you can see, these were all the original lots that were sold in the 1680's by william penn. this site has been intensely occupied. it has had human occupation for tens of thousands of years way back to native americans. but then also, going back to the british colonial period, there have been buildings built and torn down and built and moved, so it is a rich neighborhood for doing urban archaeology to uncover the material culture of generations
of americans, so it's also very complex. rebecca: except because there have been all those buildings and because it has been occupied for so many centuries, there should have been nothing here. the buildings built in the 19th century had very deep basements. some of them had double basements. they had the usual eight-foot this meant, and then they were moved and had regular basements under the 19th century buildings, and the green shows where there were double basements, sub basements, so those were particularly deep holes that had been dug where there used to be backyards. and of course, we did not know when we started to do the archaeology here, if those the basements would have destroyed everything that was in the backyards. and of course, it was the
backyards where holes were dug that we were looking for because in urban archaeology it is those deep features that produced the assemblages of artifacts that we then try to connect to those people. and the purpose is to be able to tell stories of the people who lived here over time. scott: in a complex, urban site like this where you have all these different campaigns of welding and tearing down and dug and filled again, it was interesting to me to see that even in these places where these deep basements occurred, we were still able to recover artifacts, so a little bit of the kinds of features, like what of the holes in the ground, like all the things that come out of the ground as pieces and we put them together and see what they were like before they were thrown away as trash. garbage disposal of the 18th century.
rebecca: there was no garbage collection in the 18th century, so people had to get rid of their garbage in some way or other. whole in the backyard like the outhouse, which is called a privy when we cistern it, or an old that had been collecting water that was no longer being used for water any of those empty , holds you might throw your trash in. when they built the buildings in the 19th century with the deep basements, they would have sliced off the top of those holes, those shafts. these shafts in philadelphia brick.igned with rick -- but not always the case. sometimes with wood or stone, but in philadelphia, they are lined with rick -- brick. these long, narrow shafts mind with brick -- lined with brick have been built over the original backyard, so we are looking at the trash concentrated in the bottom, and
it layer by dig layer because it's not clear that it all belonged to one family. we have to date the layers just the way we do archaeology anywhere in the world, strata graphically. you see a change in either in the content of the layer or the color of the layer, the texture of the layer, so you did layer by layer. all these things came out of one layer. all these things came out of one layer. the layer is what we link up to who was living here when the stuff was thrown out. scott: fortunately, fashions change, so that allows us to beat these objects from generation to generation. rebecca: urban archaeology is pretty dangerous because you are going down in these deep shafts, and we have to dismantle the shaft in order to comply with osha regulations.
every four feet, you have to dismantle the shaft and keep going down. we need heavy machinery to help us move the dirt back, move the dirt out of the way, take the bricks away, move the granite, so it is complicated and exciting because you have all these people with different skills. those machine operators who usually are moving big stuff, we ask them, i just want an inch off here because i think there might be a privy ring, and they do it. they move an inch. they are so skilled that they can do anything. the smallest thing. scott: surgery with a backhoe. rebecca: that is really part of the fun of doing urban archaeology. you are working with people who have so many different skills. the machine drivers, the various operators out there may never have been exposed to an archaeological site, so it is always a learning process. at first, they just want you to get out of their way. and then, as they see what we
get, they get interested, even if it is broken up into pieces. one of the things we like to do is to bring back things we have linked together so they can see that we have these objects. the person who was out there supervising the construction wanted one of the reports because he was so excited to find out that all of those fragments had, you know, made a story, had been pieced together to construct a story. that is very rewarding when people appreciate that. so we, surprisingly enough, as i was nervous when we started the project that there would not be anything there. i was told there would not be anything there, but happily -- and a lot of the site was disturbed, especially around the edges. in this area where we did not know there had been any basement, this was the richest area because it had not been disturbed. but we found stuff over here,
too. these artifacts tell the story chronologically that we were able to reconstruct out of the finds. so we could start telling the story. would you like me to do that? ok, so, one of the things about this site is it slopes down to the center of the tanning industry at the end of the 17th century. it's one of the first industries in philadelphia. scott: this is actually tanning leather. rebecca: that is right. tanning leather, that's right. a very foul industry. it fouled the creek, and people complained about it. it was smelly and awful. but some people got rich. one of the people who lived on the site was william cochran, an early mayor of philadelphia, and he was a tanner. we had hoped we would be able to excavate his site. that was one of the sites that was completely destroyed by one
those deep basements i talked about. on the other side, there was le full ofivy ho artifacts that i talked about. there were fragments of animal horn. we know that this remained from the tanning industry. it probably related to a much less rich guy, who lived in a tiny little house on an alley on the east edge of the site. and among his possessions was a beautiful jug made in germany of wald stoneware. we can connect with this man who was probably walking down the slope, going to his job at the tannery, coming home, having a beer, whatever it was, some ew in his big, beautiful
jug, that probably reminded him of home because he probably came from germany. one of the first immigrants of philadelphia were german. it is kind of neat to come upon -- touch upon this person's life. another feature with there were loads of pits from cherries. more pits and you get in most archaeological situations. we suspect that somebody was baking or making some kind of liqueur. probably for sale. actually, somebody came to me after a lecture the other night and talked about a member of the carter family who actually was a baker, so we may be able to say something about the carters being involved in setting up a bakery at this house that was also part of the tanning industry. that is how we like to reconstruct the history. beginning with the artifacts, it just leads us into places into
people's lives. scott: we should mention a lot of these features were from houses that were clustered around a little alley called carter's alley that ran through the center of the site. a lot of these houses were not on the big, main streets of philadelphia. it was almost like its own little world between walnut and chestnut and second and 3rd street. rebecca: we are getting to the back lots. >> i love objects like this western world because they are a reminder of how connected philadelphia is to the rest of the world. we often think of oceans as various it was easier to ship , but they were highways. it was easier to ship something from rotterdam to philadelphia than it was to take a load of goods from here to what is now pittsburgh. it was so easy to move goods. this was the largest port in north america.
there was almost nothing someone in philadelphia even as early as the 18th century could not have almost within weeks of someone in london having it. they would arrive in philadelphia and were dazzled at how quickly new fashions have been adapted. a lot of these durable things that have survived, these ceramics speak to that connection. rebecca: and of course, we are so close to the delaware here, just a couple of blocks up from the river. we are close to the port where all the stuff is coming into the country. very exciting. that is our early feature. we also have a feature that came from behind a house that would have faced chestnut street. on the eastern side of the site. what was interesting about this is we knew who owned the house. one of the earliest property owners, carter, who owned the property. and then a man named william
smith owned the property, and next to him was a man named samuel kerrigan. what we expected when we found this privy feature was to have things that related to those men's households, but we got all of these things. this is earthenware for something served in taverns. it was something served in, some kind of milk with some kind of liquor put in it. sounds perfectly awful. these are english made. we know the dates when they were being made in this country. when you see a lot of these, and we have 37, i think, or maybe more. we suspect this is a tavern. they don't need 37 of these in anybody's private household. they are wonderful because they are slightly different. this decorative technique is not completely controllable. some of it is by chance, so we have this wonderful collection that shows the variation in
decorations that can appear on the pots. it was a problem for us. william smith and samuel garrigas lived here. we have all of this tavern stuff. we also have this red slip-decorated redware things in various sizes. we have pictures of them. becausehave an example they are being developed for an exhibit. it is an important collection because they were are all made by local potters, and we can identify the locations of the potteries, so these are now very valuable, especially the big ones. if you wanted to buy one in an antique store, it would cost you a lot of money. however, when they were used in the tavern, it was because they were the cheapest stuff available. instead of having imported things from england or germany,
they were just made down the block. it just happens that we find them very beautiful. this was a problem for us. we did not know we had a tavern on chestnut street. we found indeed a man named yates had run a tavern not on our site, but across the street, so the artifacts appear to come from his tavern across the street and from the two households. these, for instance -- you know what these are, right? some people did not. they are wig curlers. and these are lead weights. we have a lot of these in different sizes. it turns out one of these men, samuel garrigus, had a weights and measures shop, so we think the weights came from his shop. william smith was a wealthy landowner, probably also had a finger in the tanning industry.
maybe those were his curlers. we don't know. we have a mixture of tavern stuff and the two households. complicated, but that is typical of urban archaeology. we are always having to sort it out and we are also always wishing that those guys would just appear in my dreams and tell me what the story was. why is it we have this mixture? we think the reason we have the mixture is that in the 1760's, which all of this stuff dates to, the people who owned the site that is part of the museum site reselling the property, so they were obviously fixing it up. we have records of hiring carpenters and painters. they appear to have been inviting people to throw stuff in the privy so they can close it out and cover it up and make the property more salable. which is good. that is an excuse for the tavern guy from across the street to
throw his stuff in our privy. and how lucky for us because this is one of the most interesting and beautiful collections that you are going to display in your museum. scott: right. in the lower level of the museum, we will have a family discovery center that will include recreations of a tavern, meetinghouse, and a domestic home from this neighborhood during the era of the american revolution. and that will be for school groups and families to be able to have a hands-on experience, learn about those different spaces and life in this neighborhood during the era of the american revolution. we are actually going to use a lot of these objects and put them on display in the family discovery center, so people will really be able to see things that were used within probably 20 or 30 feet of where they are standing and that actually came out of the ground literally where we built the museum. rebecca: i cannot tell you how excited i am. excavations inse
urban places. and whoever hired us to do the excavation is not a museum. they are just tried to get their darn building built and have nothing to do with the artifacts. they just send them to be curated at a state repository, so having the artifacts actually be useful to the museum and get interpreted on the site is really special and really warms my heart. and i am so glad scott had archaeological background before here so he wasis , sensitive to the fact that archaeology could mean something and could contribute to interpreting the past, which makes me happy. scott: because i have a background in archaeology, there is a great story connected to the discovery of one of our most exciting objects, actually. it is the triphena bowl.
working as a historian and the curating of exhibitions, there is a very famous teapot similar to this one that many people would have seen from schoolbooks. a few of them have survived in museums. but inscribed on the side of these teapots, it says, "no stamp act," referring to the american protests in 1765, 1766, referring to the first british tax on colonial americans. it is such an iconic object. we thought to be able to display that from philadelphia would be great. but i stopped at the site one day and went to the field director and asked if i could put in an order for a "no stamp act" teapot. it could even be broken and we would put it back together. two hours later, i got a text -- .
whycca: let us tell you that is relevant. we have moved over here now. this is another privy associated with the house owned by a cutler and his wife. makes plaqu flatware. in his case, he made axes and things like that. it looks like a tavern. again, what is this site? nothing but taverns wall-to-wall. however there was no tavern , license, no tavern owner in the record. we really wanted to know. we want to see how we get to this bowl, so we finally did find an arrest warrant or whatever it was called for mrs. cutler -- mrs. cutler -- mrs. humphries. the cutler's name was humphries. mrs. humphries was running an unlicensed tavern. she was being arrested and
hauled through the straight and made to do hard labor for three months and put in jail for running this tavern on carter's lalley. it is a back alley parallel to chestnut street. there is a tavern on chestnut street and a tavern on the back alley being illegally run. scott: a revolutionary speakeasy. rebecca: during the revolutionary war. pretty fantastic. this artifact came from that privy. when we were in the field, scott had made his request. catherine is down on her knees with her trowel at the bottom of , and she starts finding these shards that have words on them. called over the whole crew. we are standing there and she is , excavating one after another. of course, when we got them pasted together, we see what it says.
what is it? we have to go to the newspaper. urban archaeology is this interweaving of the prison records, primary records, secondary records, the artifacts. that is what is really fun about it. we weave it altogether. we go to the newspapers. we told scott we had a pretty special artifact, so he went to the newspaper and he found the best information of all. it is just what he wanted, which was? scott: to start off, the triphena was to a merchant ship based in philadelphia that sailed between philadelphia and liverpool. it would travel from south carolina occasionally to the west indies. the bowl, we know, is made in liverpool. it is english delft made in liverpool. these ships' bowls were often commissioned to celebrate a wage or the commissioning of a new ship, so they were often
given to owners or captains of these new ships. we found looking through colonial newspapers from philadelphia. and of course, the digitization made this so much easier than the old days when we had to go through microfilm, but still a couple of hours of searching, we were able to establish that it begins appearing in advertisements around 1760, 1763. there will be notices of goods that have been imported on it that are being sold in this neighborhood. rebecca: we have lists of the goods and shops where they are being unloaded. it is really fun. to my its connection request for the teapot is that the ship carried a request signed by all the merchants in -- the off and bash merchants in philadelphia addressed to the manufacturers and tradesmen in england basically saying, "we want you
to put pressure on your representatives in parliament to overturn the stamp act," the implication being that they will stop buying and importing your goods and throw you out of work. we think of the buy local movement as something in our era, but this was alive and well at the beginning of the revolution. this is an incredible object that has a connection to the bigger story of the revolution. we know it was broken and repaired during that time. it was cared for. rebecca: it is significant. these things were not thrown out until the 1780's. the date from the whole deposit is 1780, and we know this was made before the 1760's. the humphries were treasuring this bowl. did it have political significance to them? we don't really know. but it had some special
significance. maybe it was on display. it was special. imagine that we were able to find the perfect artifact for the museum of the american revolution. i mean, i just would not believe that it could happen so we were , very excited that it happened. please bring it over. scott: we worked with michelle erickson, one of the premier ceramic artisans and historians in virginia who specializes, among other things, in doing very accurate archaeological replicas for just these sorts of instances. she hand-threw and decorated this bowl to give you an idea what it would have looked like when it was new and sitting on the shelf. rebecca: but there is something different about a replica and the real thing. to say this was really there in
thatthe humphries in illegal tavern. scott: speakeasy, i would call it. rebecca: speakeasy. remember, she may have had prostitutes hanging around also. that is what she was being rested for, running that kind of a tavern. so we don't know. incidentally, this beautiful teapot came from the same assemblage of artifacts. so they were serving tea or mrs. humphries was serving tea when she was not behind the bar. so to speak. anyway, they also owned this beautiful thing. bottles fromlot of this feature. kept looking for more, but , morewas no more significant than this. even though the last day we were in the field, scott was hanging over the fence asking us to find more. scott: keep going. rebecca: he wasn't satisfied. scott: all of these 19th-century buildings, what was hand dug by
those poor immigrants with their shovels and put into wagons and hauled away or spread all over the ground. we are literally getting just a tiny little sliver of what was on that site when we do these recovery operations. rebecca: that is true. but i make the point again that i'm not sorry that we got a tiny little sliver because we were to do theyear necessary research because because every single one of those artifacts, you have to find out who's stuff it was and find out who was living there at the time and what is the conceivable relationship between the things you got out of the ground and the people who were living there. what does it mean to them? obviously, this bowl meant something to the humphries, so we are getting a little insight into who they are, and i think you will be elaborating on the humphries in this space, telling the story. so we know enough about them to
be able to bring them to life in a three-dimensional way. scott: but, of course, life goes on after the revolution in philadelphia, right? rebecca: it goes on and mrs. humphries, even though she has done her three months of hard labor, if she indeed did it, she lived into her 90's. amazing. in that same address. in that same house. fortunately, there was another privy that was closed after her death and after the death of the people who lived with her. because her great-niece lived with her and her husband, a mariner. they had very different stuff. this is imported from italy. they were still using things imported from england. what i love test about this group of artifacts that comes 1830's is there is this
in white stuff, all different kinds of plates made in a kind of ceramic that we know it dates to the 19th century, the 1820's and 1830's. it is in this pattern, but in the 18th century, she had the same set of dishes, only it was not as white. a whole thing was ceramic. the process was to get them whiter and whiter. but it was the same style. she was a quaker lady. she may have been running an illegal tavern. she may have had prostitutes hanging around. all of that. but she was a good, quaker woman. she set a simple table. when i saw those identical sets from these two features that belonged to the same property, it seemed fantastic. so people did keep up with the
changing styles. even if they were not decorated, it seems she had to have the same stuff made out of the new technology. even though it was the same as the old stuff. i like the old stuff better, of course. she also had all of these beautiful transfer printed ba vases. you're going to have a whole selection in your museum, which is terrific. that is kind of the 1830's. big changes came to the block in the middle of the century. there were lots of shops along chestnut street, but one of those big changes was this huge building, eight-story building, and i want to get the report. let's get the report. scott: chestnut street, 3rd street. this is the footprint now of the museum of the american revolution. standing in the middle of the block. rebecca: he has blitzed the building and the look of the street front.
it is a new time. it is 1850. who knows what kind of a guy? a serious businessman who was he wasa serious businessman who was going to make a mark on the landscape, etc. when the park service owned this land, which they did in the 1950's when they were creating an defendant's national historic park, they took a lot of buildings down in the whole area that is now the park including this block that they did not think fit the story they wanted to tell, which was the story of the declaration of independence. this building seemed pretty special to charlie peterson, who was then the architectural historian who worked for the park service. he passionately wanted the building saved because he said it was so significant. this was so architecturally significant. in the history of architecture in this country, this was the
prototype skyscraper, or at least charlie peterson believed that, and he lost. they took it down anyway, which was too bad, but we found its foundation. that warmed my heart. i thought, charlie, i hope you are looking down because there's this huge granite foundation still in the ground. scott: which, by the way, i think broke some of the machinery they tried to move it with. rebecca: it was very heavy, very difficult to move. you wanted to save 12 put it in the museum, but it was impossible to store. i think it's great that that building was so immovable that it's beautiful, granite place.ions were still in not only did we find the foundation, we found the door that went under carter's alley because the building extended onto both sides of the alley. it was fascinating to see this big door.
we have wonderful pictures of it, and that is terrific. so that is 1850. at the same time -- and i have nothing to show you for this, except -- there it is. there were a lot of printers on this block. this is print type that was found in one of the privies over by 3rd street. one of the members of our team, kevin bradley, made a study of this print type and who it could belong to. he studied all the different printers who were located over time on the block, and this one dated to the 1860's. it turns out "the philadelphia inquirer," a newspaper still being printed in the city, had an office at this location. they were moving in the 1860's, which is when this feature dates to. it looks as if this got into the trash before they moved their office to the new location. that's great because it touches
on another important industry in philadelphia history. scott: yeah. rebecca: finally, the block was taken over by a factory that made shell buttons, which i think was here from the 1920's up to world war ii. scott: these are basically the kind of buttons we have on the sleeve of our jacket right now. they are not made out of shell anymore. rebecca: we have huge amounts of debris. tens of thousands of shells which have these little notches taken out, which are the circles for the buttons. we sampled the debris. we did not recover at all. we were able to give some of these shells to the museum, and they abused them to give to dignitaries, and people are excited. this, like everything, is
a material piece of the history of this place, which is what historical archaeology is. to be able to have a lot of material, even from this latest industry, was really neat. one of the chapters in our report talks about the button making industry and who was making them here. it was the lippincott button factory. you can see we go from the tanning industry, the earliest industry on this block and one of the early industries of philadelphia, up to the thriving taverns and arguments that would have gone on drinking ,evolutionary war over drinks over how people recovered after the revolutionary war, how they were setting their tables, what their lives was like, up to the building of the size graber
site -- skyscraper, and the button industry. scott: all in one block. rebecca: this site tells the whole story. even though the site was heavily disturbed. even though all the buildings had their deep basements here, we had this long story to tell from material remains. starting with the material remains. much of that story is going to be told right here in that basement. much of history is written about rich, political, white men. it is getting better. but it is usually not written about the common people and how the common people were living. we feel historical archaeology gets to the kind of history that is not necessarily in history books and really lets you think about your own life in the perspective of what other people's lives were or what
lives in the 18th century work -- were or lives in the 19th century were. this is us. this is not the rich people with political power. this is the story about how we live, how we adapt, how we organize our lives, how we organize our property. it is about us, and that is why it is significant, and it's very significant that it on the site of a museum. because the purpose of the museum is to tell you about the past. but to get this whole story is ground's pastof is really pretty special. you can tell the story of philadelphia. for this is the history of a piece of philadelphia that changed over time and left this material record for us to study. scott: the site of the museum of the american revolution was parkof the historical created in the 1950's, and it was federal property.
the private nonprofit organization that has built and operated the museum of the american revolution acquired this site through a land exchange with the national park service. land that was owned near valley forge national circle park was an old visitor center built for the bicentennial, which had been replaced by a newer visitor center did not really have a future, so the land was exchanged, but because it was federal property, the highest level of cultural resource consulting and archaeological investigation transferred with that land, so we were obligated and wanted to do right by the resources that were in the ground, so we complied with all of the federal regulations section 106, the historic , preservation act, to consult with native american nations who historically had connections to this area and to do archaeology to make sure all the data was recovered.
rebecca: i forgot to mention before that we did look for native american stuff. as you said in your initial remarks, there was probably native american occupation on this wonderful hilltop site overlooking the delaware river. but we did not find any native american stuff. we had a monitor on the site during the early excavation to be absolutely certain we were not missing anything. unfortunately, it had been disturbed. scott: the museum of the american revolution will open in philadelphia in april. april of 2017. the building is completed. exhibitsstalling the even as we are recording this. many of the artifacts are being restored and prepared and will be displayed, some of the core exhibitions. many other items will be displayed in our family discovery center in the lower
level that will look at domestic life in different settings in this neighborhood during the american revolution. >> thursday at 7:00 p.m. eastern, join american history tv for a live tour of the museum of the american revolution in philadelphia. the museum's president and c.e.o., michael quinn, and collections and exhibitions vice president scott stephenson, will , introduce artifacts and exhibits from the museum including george washington's war tent. hear stories about the american revolution, and you can participate in the life program with your phone calls and tweets. watch american history tv live from the museum of the american revolution thursday starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3.
>> monday night. >> i have not changed. termsings i care about in of consumers being first and foremost in our minds when it comes to policy and serving them. that has not changed. >> the longest-serving fcc commissioner and only democrat on the commission talks about is changing under republican leadership and what she sees as the major issues ahead. by theinterviewed editor. >> we need to ask ourselves, will consumers be protected? under the current paradigm, what i'm hearing in terms of moving back to the days of old, i really don't see where the consumer benefits will derive. >> watch monday night at 8:00
eastern on c-span2. 4, theday night, july pulitzer prize-winning historian talks about how the founders, particularly john adams, valued education, viewed slavery, and persevered through hardship. here is a preview. >> i don't consider myself an historian. i did not major in history. i was an english major who wandered into writing history. that is a whole other story. but i consider myself a writer who wants to write about real people and what really happened. i do all of the required research and then some because i resourcesof research a lot of academics do not use at all. secondly, i have never undertaken a subject i knew much
about. because if i knew all about it, i would not want to write a book. for me, finding out about the subject is the adventure. landing on a continent i have never set foot on, and i am setting foot to find out what i can. so, it is all new to me, almost all of it. it is amazing how if you have that point of view, you will find things other people who rightfully claim to know about it will not find because they are not seeing it with a fresh eye. i've never undertaken a book about a subject i knew much about. i've never undertaken a book in which i did not find something in my research that nobody had found before. that is very exciting. >> watch the entire program at 8:00 eastern on july 4 on american history tv, only on cspan3.
>> shortly after declaring war on germany, the u.s. congress passed and president wilson signed the selective service act, which required men aged 21 to 30 to register for military service. up next, to mark the centennial of selective service a , discussion of the draft from the civil war to the vietnam war and beyond when military service eventually became voluntary. this event is about an hour and 10 minutes.