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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Article Title

Variability in Militia and Regular Army Refuse Disposal Patterns at Fort Meigs: A Fortified War of 1812 Encampment on the Maumee River in Northern Ohio

Authors

John Nass Jr.

Abstract

During the fall of 1812, Fort Meigs was built on a bluff along the south side of the Maumee River, Ohio, to serve as a forward supply base and to provide protection to the expeditionary force preparing to advance against Fort Malden. The completed fortification included batteries, blockhouses, and a connecting parapet and palisade. Three groups of Americans (federal army, militia, and volunteers) resided at Fort Meigs during its construction, usage as a base camp and forward-supply depot, and its defense. Members of these groups came from a range of socioeconomic classes. This article seeks to elucidate any qualitative differences in the behavior and refuse-disposal patterns among the three categories of soldier at Fort Meigs: militia and volunteers, enlisted men, and officers, and how disposal patterns reflect then-extant military culture. It should be possible to relate the forms of material culture discovered in contexts other than sinks (also known as primary, secondary, and de facto disposal types) (Schiffer 1972), to the actions of the three categories of soldiers.

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