The archaeological discovery at Ferry Farm of eighteenth century glue residues on tea and tablewares belonging to George Washington’s mother, Mary, raised a number of questions. Although recent research in the archaeological and decorative arts community on repaired ceramic and glasswares was helpful to some extent it primarily focused on professional repairs. At-home mending remained a mystery. Archaeologists at Ferry Farm responded by conducting extensive experimental archaeology on historic glues, replicating period glue recipes to determine the properties of these historic adhesives. Additionally, residue samples of suspected glue were analyzed by chemists from Eastern Michigan and Lourdes Universities utilizing Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Mass Spectrometry. The resulting data have shed light on what these sociotechnic artifacts say about a woman in Mary Washington’s social and economic position while highlighting an extremely common yet archaeologically ephemeral activity.
Kaktins, Mara Z.; Marquis, Melanie; Armitage, Ruth Ann; and Fraser, Daniel
"“Take an Ounce of Suffolk Cheese”: Home Repair of Eighteenth Century Ceramics at Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home,"
Northeast Historical Archaeology:
48, Article 7.
Available at: https://orb.binghamton.edu/neha/vol48/iss1/7