ANTH 227: Middletown Materials

Buried beneath you as you walk the streets of Middletown is the residue of former residents. Mostly consisting of fragments of ceramics, glass, and other objects, these hold the potential to begin to unlock the day-to-day history of their past owners and users.

Past Projects

  • 2012: Archaeological Analysis

    On the triangle of land between Vine Street, Cross Street, and Knowles Avenue (known as the Beman Triangle), a community of African Americans began to build houses from the mid-19th century on land owned by one of their community, Leveret Beman. Although few above-ground traces now suggest the presence of this community, material about their lives survives in the record of their trash and other archaeological features that remain beneath the backyards of the houses on this land.

    More about 2012: Archaeological Analysis

    In this class we will study the archaeology of this site, in partnership with members of the wider Middletown community, particularly from the AME Zion Church. Academic material in the class will cover the archaeology of 19th-century African Americans and studies of how community archaeology projects can be formulated as an equal partnership between community stakeholders and archaeologists.

    We will conduct two weekends of excavation at the site that will involve learning to excavate, processing archaeological materials, and how to tour visitors around the excavations. We will also work with community members to collect oral histories about the site and will hold discussions to determine local wishes in relation to how the heritage of the site should be presented and preserved. Our other angle of research will delve into local archives to supplement historical knowledge about the site and to interpret objects and features found on excavations.

    Listen to Professor Croucher discussing the Beman Triangle