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Miscellaneous Artifacts

Several artifacts from 25SW49 do not fit into any convenient material type category. With some of these artifacts, the material is known but the name or function has been lost in the 130 years since they were last used. This is not unexpected even at an historic site such as Beaver Crossing. Material culture has changed at a rapid rate, especially during the last 100 or so years. Humans have gone from riding horses and trains in the 1860s to traveling in planes and space ships today. Thus, it is understandable that archaeologists are not able to identify the oft broken and fragmented artifacts from the past.

At Beaver Crossing, the miscellaneous artifacts can be divided into four groups. In the first are items that are clearly intrusive to the site. This group is quite small owing to the relatively undisturbed nature of the site. The artifacts in this group include seven wire cut nails and fragments from a clay target practice pigeon.

The second group includes several artifacts that are made of uncertain material. This group consists of pieces of boot heel. These artifacts appear to be some combination of leather or rubber. At this time, the exact material of these items is unknown.

The third group contains objects that are unidentifiable. Many of these artifacts excavated were broken and fragmented beyond recognition. Numerous fragments of ferrous metal in many shapes and thickness were discovered. All that can be said about these fragments is that they represent part of a larger item. Also, several more substantial metal objects were found that, while more complete, their function remains unclear. Numerous glass and ceramic fragments that were too small to be identified were also recovered.

The fourth group consists of unique objects that defy classification. Two fragments of plastic rings were excavated from the site. These items are perhaps from the 1860s occupation or could date from later in time. Also, several fragments of bone lice combs were found. These combs were common health care items in the 1800s.

This discussion is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead to highlight some of the artifacts not covered in other chapters in this report. More importantly this chapter is meant to show that items from historic sites are varied in both material and function. Many items are not used in the same way as they are today, if at all, and the functions of items recovered from archaeological sites is not readily apparent.