Sunday, January 16, 2011

Austin, Texas

Doorknob at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas
Texas was one of those states which seemed like an interesting place to go if I ever got the chance, but I didn't think it would be one of the states I would actually make it to someday (nothing against Texas!). Well, that changed when I was invited to present on a panel at the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) conference in Austin, Texas!

What in the world would you present at an archaeology conference, you might ask?
Well, my Master's thesis with the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture was on the Moravian potters and pottery of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Because there are no intact objects with firm attribution to the Bethlehem Moravian potters, the work was largely archaeological. By reassessing and analyzing archaeological material excavated in the 1970s, and doing a lot of archival research, I found some really great things.
Archaeological ceramic sherd excavated in the Moravian Industrial Quarter of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The dark red color is the lead glaze which remains on the red earthenware body, and the lined pattern is from the white slip trailing which has popped off. Courtesy, Historic Bethlehem.

Archaeological ceramic sherd excavated in the Moravian Industrial Quarter of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The yellow slip trailing is actually white, but appears yellow beneath the lead glaze. Green, white, and black were the three most prominant slip colors used. Courtesy, Historic Bethlehem.

The SHA conference presentation revolved around some archival evidence I found that the Bethlehem Moravian potters may have been sending pottery to the Virgin Islands. I have been working with Stephen Lenik who has been excavating in the Virgin Islands, and we have been comparing archaeological sherds from the Virgin Islands and Bethlehem (keep your eyes peeled, we're working on an article!).
    I also went to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and got to see some mid-nineteenth century stoneware produced in Texas with alkaline glaze. I never realized that pottery was being produced as early as 1839 in Texas! I also got a chance to go and see the State Capitol and the rotunda inside:
State Capitol in Austin, Texas

Rotunda in State Capitol

And, in case you ever wondered where O'Henry lived in Austin, Texas for a few years before going to jail and then New York, well, here it is:
O'Henry House, Austin, Texas.

1 comment:

Craig Edwards said...

Love the doorknob.. nice history lesson!!