Saturday, June 4, 2011

Howdy Stranger

Well, its been a while. Sorry about that. Sometimes I think my obscure efforts are hardly worth doing, so I stop for a bit. Then I find that these obscure efforts are the only thing that keeps me going. So here I am again.

The publishers tell me that they think archaeologists are a strong audience for the book, if it ever gets published. To that end, they want me to include more spin around material culture (read: shattered pottery mixing bowls) so that archaeologists can use my book to help them interpret what they're finding in their excavations.

So I was reading an archaeological report about findings at the original site of Goshen, circa 1860. This little town was about two miles west of the current Goshen, down near Santaquin. The original site was on alkalai soil, so crops wouldn't grow, and they had to move.

Things you can learn from that sentence alone: Utah's history is intricately tied to food history. They moved a whole town based on food and agriculture. They picked the buildings up and moved them, leaving an exquisite, undisturbed archaeological footprint. Also, we learn that if you're looking for saleratus, you can find some near the old Goshen townsite. Saleratus is what made alkalai soil. Again, food.

So, among other things I learned from the archae report: the Mormon settlers circa 1860 left a lot of broken dishes in their abandoned cellars. (Cellars: food. Dishes: food) And what sort of broken dishes? Rustic Mormon earthenware you think? Grainy, salt-glazed stoneware? Nope. Nope.

Blue Willow.

Blue willow also makes a strong showing in the DUP Museum, with good provenance among early plains-crossing pioneers. By the way, Blue Willow was first designed in the mid-1700s, and JCPenny still has a line of it in production today. Apparently, it is THE PATTERN for sentimental Mormons. I've got some in my curio cabinet. Do you?


Glenn said...

VERY interesting.