Situated in northwestern Madison County, Illinois, the Manns site presents a unique view of a long-term, mid-nineteenth century occupation by a single household. The Garrett family purchased the underlying property in 1831, and they retained possession until 1892. Fieldwork conducted in 2005 and 2006 led to the discovery of 40 subsurface features and the recovery of nearly 7,500 individual artifacts. Seventy percent of the artifacts were recovered from just two features, a well (dating 1830–ca. 1850) and a cistern (1845–ca. 1880). Combined, these yielded a wide swathe of material covering nearly the entirety of the Garrett occupation. This data facilitated an unfettered examination of changing consumption patterns and consumer choice, isolated from variables associated with multiple ownerships. The well revealed a strong preference for printed refined ceramics over the less expensive painted wares prior to ca. 1850; this finding is significantly out of the norm for most rural farmsteads. The post-1845 cistern reveals a relatively equal representation of printed and painted wares, but with minimal plain paneled and molded wares, again out of the norm for that era. While the cistern presents a typical teaware dominant assemblage, the well yielded approximately 50% more tableware than teaware. A proportionally large number of unrefined vessels are present; while regionally atypical, the Manns site’s proximity to the Upper Alton pottery industry would have made these readily available. Furthermore, as a number of vessels in the cistern exhibit warping and bubbled glaze, these may represent lower-cost seconds purchased directly from the pottery. Further illustrating the local access to affordable ceramic food storage vessels, no glass food storage or canning jars were recovered. While archival documents show the Garrett ownership persisted until 1892, the archaeology demonstrates the occupation of this site concluded ca. 1880 or, at minimum, sustained a drastic change in site use and refuse disposal.
|ISAS Research Report no. 24