national park service academy

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Every week we work on taking inventory of the archaeological artifacts at the site. A computer takes a random sample of artifacts and our job is to find them and check their condition to see if it matches with the description on file. Sometimes it’s fairly simple to locate things, other times you’ll literally be sorting through hundreds of glass or ceramic shards. It’s kinda like historical artifact Where’s Waldo?

The artifacts are stored in tall cabinets that have a series of drawers. To get to the top cabinets we have to use a ladder, occasionally creating some very precarious situations for us and the artifacts.

There’s all sorts of artifacts: baking dishes, iron hooks, utensils, serving dishes, coal chunks, guns, you name it. Most of the objects are in pieces but that’s what happens when stuff gets tossed into a latrine more than 100 years ago.

Fun Fact: Archaeologists found that the latrine by the Ironmaster’s House had full dishes, meaning the original users were throwing away plates that weren’t broken. They had enough money to throw away perfectly good dishes so they could be new ones. 

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I was pleased to stumble upon this teacup while looking through the cabinets this week. Nothing like some 19th century white ware to put a smile on your face, am I right?

This week we discovered mold in a drawer containing iron artifacts. Oh noes! We had to temporarily relocate the items to clean the drawer. We broke out the HEPA vacuum and some fine brush tools to vacuum the artifacts and the drawer. I also replaced the cushy foam lining they sit on. Hopefully our work will keep the mold at bay for now.