By Ann-Eliza H. Lewis
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Extra resources for Highway to the Past: The Archaeology of Boston's Big Dig
The couple lived together for several years before Robert died at the age of 50. Katherine then married Edward Naylor another merchant who may have been a business associate of Robert Nanny’s. Because of the excellent preservation many organic items survived to add depth to the portrait of Katherine’s household. Among the well-preserved organic material were several shoes and more than 150 fragments of silk and lace. The fabric may be one of the best indicators Katherine Nanny Naylor’s wealth. Sumptuary Laws are laws that control perThe artifacts recovered reflect sonal behavior in an attempt to the home of a wealthy merlimit perceived extravagances chant’s family.
This part of the story emerged from court records housed at the Massachusetts Archives. In these Standing not much higher than two inches this tiny brass bucket is in fact a pin cushion. At one time it was filled with fabric-covered hay or horse hair. records archaeologists found a petition from Katherine Nanny Naylor for a divorce from Edward Naylor. The petition graphically describes the abuse she and her children suffered at his hand including having “earthen” (ceramic) platters, food, and furniture thrown at them.
In the 17th century, patrons of the Tavern would have expected to share not only their dinner table, but the plates and cups on the table as well. Trenchers were large platters, often made of wood, which could hold enough food for several people who would share both the platter and the food. They might also share their tankards, or perhaps a large pot of posset (a warm drink made with milk, rum, and spices) would be passed around the table. It was not until the middle part of the 18th century that the colonists of the New World started using individual plates, cups, or even forks.
Highway to the Past: The Archaeology of Boston's Big Dig by Ann-Eliza H. Lewis