Lab Notes · Updates

Lab Notes: July 23, 2016


We are super excited! First of all the Herring Run Archaeology Project recently started processing the thousands of artifacts we collected from our field season this past spring. At the same time we recently welcomed two additional staff members to the project team who have been instrumental in working with our volunteers as we clean, identify and curate our extensive collection. Karen Hutchins-Keim joined our team in April and has recently taken over as the project lab director. In June, we also welcomed our new project intern, Lily Roze Annenberg, who serves as Karen’s laboratory assistant.  One of Lily’s responsibilities this summer is to author a Lab Notes segment for our website.  So without further adieu, I give you Lily:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Intern Blog Post:

Our Saturday in the lab was well spent, with both beginner and experienced women in archaeology! Karen directed the volunteers on proper artifact handling, while giving me a lesson in bagging and cataloging.

For those interested in learning how to properly catalog:

To begin this process, we start with sorting! Group the artifacts by type – such as ceramic with ceramic, nails with nails, glass with glass, etc. From there subdivide the groups further:

  • Glass should be sorted by color and shape (i.e.: flat vs. curved)
  • Nails should be divided by type (i.e.: Wrought Nail, Machine Cut/Wrought Head, Machine Cut Nail, Wire Nail)
  • Ceramics should be divided by type (i.e.: Tin Glazed Earthenware, Creamware, Pearlware, Whiteware, Ironware, Yellow Ware, Chinese Export Porcelain, Hard Paste Porcelain, Soft Paste Porcelain, Redware, Red Bodied Slipware, Stoneware, Westerwald) as well as design (if one is present)

Filling out a Catalog Sheet:

  • Lot Number: May refer to one group or a group of objects from one provenience unit.
    Specimen Number: Each type of artifact cataloged in a particular lot will be given a Specimen Number.
  • Class: All artifacts fall within one of three categories, Prehistoric, Historic and Faunal.
  • Group: All artifacts will fall into a particular Artifact Group, depending on their prehistoric, historic or faunal class.
  • Material: Belonging to a type of material, grouped into: Domestic, Architectural, or Tobacco Pipe.
  • Translation: Identifies the specific type of artifacts (i.e.: ceramic, glass, nails, etc.) Prehistoric Class, Historic Class, Architectural Group, Tobacco Pipe Group, Personal Group, Clothing Group, Furnishing Group, Miscellaneous Group, Faunal Class, and Shell.
  • Color: Specific to vessel glass or window glass.
  • Count: The number of artifacts belonging to one particular specimen group.
  • Notes: Any additional notes the recorder (you) believe are necessary, such as whether the artifact is burnt or melted.


Specimens should be rebagged, and individually labeled on the outside with the site number, lot number, and specimen number. Additionally, the bags should include an identical tag on the inside of each bag, again with the site number, lot number, and specimen number. Once all the specimen groups of a particular lot are cataloged and bagged individually, all the specimens bags from a particular lot will be placed in a larger master bag. The master bag will include a larger tag with greater detail: Lot Number, Project Name, Site Number, STP/ Unit Number, Stratum/Level, Feature Number, Feature Stratum/Level, Excavation Date, Excavator Initials.

With so much to learn in the lab, if in doubt don’t be afraid to ask questions! We are all learning together 🙂

We will be working with volunteers on the application of cataloging soon! This overview will be a great tool to use to your benefit, and refer back to.

We look forward to seeing you all next Saturday!
Lily Roze (Archaeology Intern)


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