Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Urban Renewal Fill

We found quite a variety of artifacts in the 1960s fill that we excavated above the mikveh.  We weren't sure whether the artifacts are associated with the Pecunies household or whether they were brought in with the fill.  As we've begun processing material culture, though, we've learned about a couple items in particular that were probably part of life for the Pecunies.

For example, there was a large pipe we recovered from the eastern side of the foundation.  It turned out that this piece of pipe (based on material, size, and color) would have been from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Local history tells us that shipyard employees sometimes brought home scrap material for various uses.  John Pecunies (Ronnie and Kay's father) worked at the shipyard, so it is more than likely that this pipe was in the household prior to filling.







Another interesting artifact that was recovered from the western side of the excavation block was this light fixture.  A little research revealed that it is a lamp from a 1941 Singer model 128-8 sewing machine.  Below is a graphic of the sewing machine from a historic Singer catalog which lists parts, and a photo of the back of the sewing machine, showing where the lamp would have been connected.  Knowing that this is from a household sewing machine and being able to date it to the 1940s, shortly after the Pecunies family moved into the house, makes it likely that this is part of Emma Pecunies' sewing machine!  It looks like the team who tore down the house in the 1960s used clean sand and gravel to backfill the foundation, just as we did when we backfilled the excavation!


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