• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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Wine or Spirits Bottle

base of broken bottle

Wine or Spirits Bottle
pre-1838

This aqua hand-blown glass bottle was found in the 1960s at Belle Point, site of the first Fort Smith (1817-1824). On the base is a pontil mark or indentation left by a pontil rod used during the bottle finishing process. An assistant would hold a long iron rod attached to the base of the hot bottle while the glass-blower shaped the neck of the bottle. Pontil marks are found on American made utilitarian bottles up until the mid-1860s.

The base of this bottle has a prominent pontil mark with a surrounding starburst design. The edges of the base have an orange peel surface. The variation in the thickness of the bottle and the seedlike bubbles are further evidence of hand manufacture.

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bottom of bottle base showing indentation

Did You Know?

Trail of Tears Routes

The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, (Muscogee) Creek and Seminole Indian tribes were forcibly moved to Indian Territory on what became known as the Trail of Tears. The Arkansas River served as a water route to Fort Smith where they received supplies before crossing the river into Indian Territory.