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Ceramic Supply in an Economically Isolated Frontier Community: Portage County of the Ohio Western Reserve, 1800–1825

George L. Miller and Silas D. Hurry
Historical Archaeology
Vol. 17, No. 2 (1983), pp. 80-92
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25615454
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ceramic Supply in an Economically Isolated Frontier Community: Portage County of the Ohio Western Reserve, 1800–1825
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Abstract

Archaeologists have long considered ceramics one of their best guides to the identification of socio-economic status. Presence or absence of expensive ceramics in excavated assemblages has been considered a definer of economic class. However this is an over-simplification of the correlation of ceramic quality and the wealth or social status of those that owned them. To interpret ceramic assemblages, it is essential to have some knowledge of the economic niche in which the site functioned. This is particularly true for isolated frontier communities which had poor transportation links to centers of civilization. The following case describes the impact of economic isolation on settlers in the Connecticut Western Reserve in Northern Ohio prior to the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. From this study, it is suggested that ceramics break down as status indicators under conditions of economic isolation.

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