Project Feature: Lorin Brace and the Roosevelt Park Collection

C. Lorin Brace VI is a 1st year master’s candidate at Wayne State University.  He completed a bachelor of science degree in History and Anthropology from Eastern Michigan University in 2011.  Since then he has worked on multiple Cultural Resource Management jobs as a field archaeologist in six states over the last three years.

Lorin works on cataloging the Roosevelt Park Collection.

We all have fun stories as to how we ended up in Archaeology, what is yours?
“I was doing an Anthropology minor and I just randomly took a field school to take care of a 300-level class.  I fell in love with Archaeology, so I switched to a double-major.  I have been doing CRM for the last three years.”

After three years in the field, do you have a favorite dig?
“There have been a lot of interesting ones. The prehistoric burial recovery [this past summer] was pretty exciting.”

With all that experience, what cool things are you doing with the Unearthing Detroit project?

“I am cataloging the Roosevelt Park finds from 2012.  Eventually, I am going to get into research for that.”

Roosevelt Park was excavated in 2012 by students and volunteers.  This year we are continuing this process.  The progress of this fall semester’s dig can be followed here.

To catalogue finds, what process are you going through?
“Everything is sorted by a lot number [location where it was recovered] and context number [specific location in ground]. I sort out the artifacts into their own bags. I label and record them in a little more detail.”

I see Lorin is placing these artifacts into small cardboard boxes. After the artifacts are boxed, what happens to them?

“[Artifacts] will eventually go into the storage rooms, but some of the things that are more interesting are being marked “special finds”. Those we will do more research on.”

Going through all these artifacts takes a lot of time. Is there a special find in particular you found to be exciting?
“Probably, this [tobacco] pipe bowl that is painted different colors. It is decorated really intricately, and I have never seen one like it.”


Intricately designed pipe bowl.

We have talked on the blog about how different amount of artifacts in an area can tell us general themes about an area. Have you found any trends?
“Definitely, based on the lot, different types of materials, some more architectural, some more ceramic, or this one [being catalogued now] has a ton of glass. There seems to have been a bottle cache in one area.”

That’s exciting! There seems to be a lot to learn about the people who lived in this area. What kind of research will you be starting with?
“I have been doing a bit of research as a go to know what to put on the description. I did research on this wall tube. (see picture) This is used for electrical wires.  They were only used for a brief period about 30 years from the 1890s to 1920s. This has a company name on it, E. P. Company, which I found existed for 10 years between 1901 and 1911 in East Liverpool, Ohio. Most of these tubes came from companies in Ohio. A lot of people who made smoking pipes started making these because it is the same type of porcelain.
Before [porcelain] they used wood ones, which didn’t end well with electricity. And after these plugs started to be used.”


Ceramic wall tubing for electrical wires. c.a 1901-1911

Lorin will continue with this cataloging and preliminary research for the thousands of artifacts recovered in 2012.  After he has completed this long process, the artifacts will be entered into PastPerfect for the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology here at Wayne State University.  Lorin will then begin specific investigations to add to the narrative of the larger Unearthing Detroit project.

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