CART Biweekly

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Pictured above is a Suid mandable from our type collection. Suids include the domestic pig and it is a common find on many historic sites. A zooarchaeologist often analyzes the fauna that we recover from an excavation. Suid has been discovered during recent excavations at Old Colchester Park and Preserve as well as Patriot Park North.  Though smaller and providing less meat than cattle, early Virginians favored pig due to its quick maturation.  Only those selected for breeding survived past about one year.

Enjoy your dinner!


Historic Farming: Livestock – Swine.”  Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  (2019)

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CART Biweekly

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Farewell to Robin!


It is with mixed emotions that we bid farewell to Field Director Robin Ramey.  Robin recently accepted a position with the Longwood University Institute of Archaeology.  She will be terribly missed and we appreciate all the contributions she has made over the years. Nonetheless, we wish Robin the best of luck in this wonderful new opportunity.  We are sure she will excel in every way, just as she did here.

From Longwood Archaeology:

Dr. Brian Bates announces the selection of the Project Archaeologist for his National Science Foundation STEM Research Project.

I am extremely pleased to announce that Robin Ramey has been hired as the Project Archaeologist for my National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (NSF-IUSE) research project. Robin has five years of experience conducting archaeological investigation in Virginia on projects ranging from Phase I surveys to Phase III data collection projects. Her work experience spans the private sector, public agencies and non-profit organizations. Robin received her M.A. from North Carolina State University and her B.A. from the University of Mary Washington. In addition to her field experience, Robin is very accomplished in the area of Geographic Information Systems.

Robin’s teaching philosophy resonates well with the aims of my NSF research project. She has a deep commitment to evidence-based reasoning and scientific inquiry. Further, her approach to archaeology is as the scientific exploration of the past, and she views archaeology as an incredibly interdisciplinary field that fits firmly between the realms of social and empirical science.

Robin will be coming to us from the Fairfax County Park Authority where she has served as that agency’s Field Director. Robin is uniquely positioned to help advance the Institute of Archaeology’s mission “to empower undergraduates through life-changing experiences in archaeological field research”. Robin will join the IoA in January.

Merry Christmas!

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Sleeve Buttons

Copper alloy, round-shaped sleeve buttons with faceted colored glass insets archaeologically recovered at Old Colchester Park and Preserve.

by Brittany Blanchard Archaeological Technician

Sleeve buttons, commonly referred to as cufflinks, typically consist of two small button-like objects attached to each other by a metal bar or links. The buttons are meant to be placed through shirtsleeve buttonholes creating a tension that draws the cuff together. Sleeve buttons were worn regularly beginning in the late 17th century and grew in popularity as interchangeable accessories that allowed the wearer to incorporate personal style preferences and/or subtle political statements in a noncommittal fashion. Those archaeologically recovered in recent years from Patriot Park North and Old Colchester Park and Preserve are made of metals such as brass, copper, and pewter which were cast into round, oval, octagonal, or more complex shapes. Colored glass was often molded, faceted, or rounded and used as insets to produce the appearance of ornate yet inexpensive decoration. Silver or gold would be used to manufacture more expensive sleeve buttons and could have insets fashioned from gemstones; however, the CART has not discovered anything this fine at either site. Archaeologically, we recover what people have discarded. Most likely, just like today, people in the past would have held onto finer quality items. When insets were not incorporated in the design, other patterns frequently adorned the visible surfaces ranging from busts of political figures, words or phrases, geometric designs, personal initials, religious symbology, and so on. Alternatively, the surface would be kept smooth and appeal as a functionally simplistic accessory. Sleeve buttons were considerably inexpensive to produce compared to other buttons because only a small amount of material and little labor was required for their manufacture. This wide scope of versatility available for decorating these attachments coupled with their lower price points allowed for sleeve buttons to have sensibly grown in popularity and continue to be seen in modern style to this day.

Bronze, oval-shaped sleeve button with the words Tallio inscribed above image of a fox archaeologically recovered at Patriot Park North. Click here to read more about Tallio sleeve buttons.



Cofield, S. R. 2012. Linked Buttons of the Middle Atlantic, 1670-1800. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 28:99-116.

MAC Lab. 2002. Linked Buttons, Cufflinks, and Studs. Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab (MAC Lab). Electronic. accessed November 25, 2019.

White, C. L. 2005. American Artifacts of Personal Adornment, 1680-1820: A Guide to Identification and Interpretation. AltaMira Press, Lanham, Maryland.

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CART Biweekly Update

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Another Bottle from the Collection

The olive-green mouth blown bottle pictured above is part of the Fairfax County Archaeology and Collections Branch collection. In the 19th century, “egg-shaped” bottles were commonly associated with carbonated beverages such as mineral water (Jones 1989). The bottle’s rounded base was created so that it could not stand upright (Lindsey 2019). This one is a bit unusual because a pontil is visible on the bottom. For information on mouth-blown pontils see Glass Bottle Pontil Scarring.



Jones, Olive and Catherine Sullivan. 1989. The Parks Canada Glass Glossary for the Description of Containers, Tableware, Flat Glass and Closures. National Historic Parks and Sites Canadian Parks Service Environment Canada, Canada. Originally Published 1985.   accessed November 27, 2019.

Lindsey, Bill. 2019. Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. Bureau of Land Management & the Society for Historical Archaeology. Electronic.    accessed November 27, 2019.

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