Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Patricia B. Richards

Committee Members

Robert Jeske, John Richards


Ceramics, Consumerism, Farmstead, Wisconsin


This thesis examines the expression of consumer behavior and choice through ceramic archaeological remains from the Stephen Field Farmstead (47WL351) site, a nineteenth-century farmstead located in East Troy Township, Walworth County, Wisconsin, with emphasis placed on the ceramics recovered from Feature One, a stone-lined privy vault. Ceramics were collected in 2010, 2011, and 2013, during field investigations conducted by the Wisconsin Historical Society-Museum Archaeology Program. The collection is permanently housed at the East Troy Area Historical Society, but is currently on loan to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. An inventory of the ceramic vessels from Feature One at the Stephen Field Farmstead was compiled, and included information about vessel form, ware, decoration, and stratigraphic context. Various analyses were conducted, such an investigation of historical documents related to the occupants of the site, and an evaluation of the ceramic vessels based on their possible utility. The resultant data indicate that, in regards to ceramic items, the occupants of the Stephen Field Farmstead (47WL351) site were aware of and able to adhere to broader trends in consumer behavior. The data also suggest that household events may have influenced the consumption of goods, and that individual agency may be visible through the discard and depositional context of some of the ceramic remains.