How Not to Display Your Archaeology Collection

Mortar and pestle bird bath.
Mortar and pestle bird bath.

This archaeological display/birdbath was photographed in 1937. The mortar and pestle on top, along with the groundstone axes on the sides, were embedded in cement. The objects are part of the Dr. Frank Wright Collection, Moorestown, New Jersey.

This photo, and others, were taken as part of the Indian Site Survey (ISS). The ISS was a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project which not only conducted archaeological surveys throughout New Jersey, but documented private collections, as well. These collections were inventoried, drawn, and photographed, providing us with a wealth of information about collections throughout the state.

I would not recommend displaying your artifacts in such a way (either embedded in cement, or exposed to the elements), so let’s cite this as a bad example of how to care for your collection.

Drawing of gorgets from the Dr. Frank Wright Collection, Moorestown, NJ.
Drawing of gorgets from the Dr. Frank Wright Collection, Moorestown, NJ.
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