Artifact Biographies

It’s not about the stuff, it’s the story.
doll-scale teacup and saucer, privy, FB, 8:25:15Archaeologists are scientists who use artifacts to study history. In the summer of 2015, a team of archaeologists with the City of Boston Archaeology Program recovered over 17,000 individual artifacts from the back yard of the Industrial School for Girls. The majority of these artifacts were found within an intact outhouse, or privy, and a trash pit that contained household refuse from the school.

When doing archaeological analysis after fieldwork ends, each artifacts functions much like a page in a book. Archaeologists spend the majority of their time literally and metaphorically piecing back together a story of a site’s history by studying these artifacts in order to discover what they reveal about the people who left them behind. What was their life like? Who were they?

You will find here several “artifact biographies,” which examine specific artifacts found at the Industrial School for Girls much like one would study an individual. These bios demonstrate the wide variety of data, questions, and stories a single artifact can reveal about the past, and provide exciting insights into the lives of the people who lived, worked, and played at the Industrial School.

Click on an artifact to uncover its history


mourning-necklace   sewing bird

crying2  buttons-e1522005786599  Lilly

black doll   teacups