Clothing and Functional Items as Artifacts
This aqua glass "Lea & Perrins" bottle stopper has an interested story. In 1981, rangers stopped a bottle digger from looting near the Merrie Way parking lot at Land's End. This bottle stopper was one of several Victorian artifacts saved. Ironically, this illegal incident helped archeologists identify archeological sites in the area over the subsequent years, proving that the artifact was invaluable in a knowledge rather than a monetary way. Next time you eat Worchestershire sauce, check the lable to see if it is Lea & Perrins - they are still in business today although their bottle stoppers have changed.
This white clay smoking pipe from Lands End was manufactured by William White of Glasgow, Scotland in the 19th century. This form was a popular one, with a plain bowl and long stem. It is interesting to think that such a simple form was imported from such a far distance, no matter how international San Francisco's population was at the time.
This unusual artifact is part of a Victorian hand grenade fire extinguisher. With the growing rise of urban populations and crowded, industrialized working conditions, the late 1800s brought significant advances in health and safety technology. The hand grenade fire extinguisher was one of them. It was designed to be attractive and easily used, perfect for home or office use: to extinguish a fire, one simply pulled the fire extinguisher off its basket on the wall, threw it into the fire, and the chemicals inside of it quickly extinguished the fire. Attractive as this idea was, consumers quickly discovered a downside: carbon tetrachloride, one of the main ingredients in this chemical cocktail, formed a hazardous gas when combined with fire. Be that as it may, it took years for the product to lose popularity. This example was found at the Sutro Heights Parapet.
Archeology is not always about exciting, novel finds. This piece of a hand-painted chamber pot from Ocean Terrace can give us an important glimpse into everyday life for a working class Victorian shop owner.
Did You Know?
During World War II, Fort Baker’s Horseshoe Cove was home to the Mine Planting Depot, where soldiers loaded dynamite into electrically-triggered mines that were then arranged in the water just outside the Golden Gate Bridge.