Event Title

Thousands of Forms, Thousands of Stories: The Digital Foundation of Postmortem "Life" at Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery

Presenter Information

Kaitlyn Zacharias

Mentor 1

Patricia B. Richards

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

The research presented documents the importance of an integrated approach to successful analysis of individuals excavated from the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (MCPFC). More specifically, two case studies are used to explore the role of burial paperwork and photographs in osteological analysis. From 1882 through 1925, the indigent, institutionalized, and unclaimed were buried at the MCPFC. Archaeological excavations occurred at the Milwaukee County Institutions Grounds Froedtert Tract (site # 47 MI 527) in 1991-2 and again in 2013. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Archaeological Research Laboratory has final disposition of all materials recovered from the 1991-92 excavations, and of particular relevance to this project, the excavation notes, photographs, and human remains. Completed osteological analyses include inventory, biological profile, pathology, and taphonomy assessments. These assessments were completed according to standard osteological methods as outlined in the UWM-Cultural Resource Management (UWM-CRM) Human Remains Analysis Manual. Given the central role of the burial paperwork and photographs, the analysis protocol includes a final step creating a digital record of all burial information and completed analysis forms as part of the project data management plan. Two burials were chosen for this research because they included more than one individual in a coffin, which highlights the importance of burial paperwork and photographs in informing initial expectations for the analysis process. In the first case, there was no note of more than one individual in the coffin. In the second case, two distinct individuals were identified in the field. Inclusion of osteological analysis, burial paperwork and burial photographs help us share stories, explain aspects of life and death, and demonstrates the collectively powerful postmortem “lives” of those buried in the MCPFC.

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Apr 27th, 1:00 PM

Thousands of Forms, Thousands of Stories: The Digital Foundation of Postmortem "Life" at Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery

Union Wisconsin Room

The research presented documents the importance of an integrated approach to successful analysis of individuals excavated from the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (MCPFC). More specifically, two case studies are used to explore the role of burial paperwork and photographs in osteological analysis. From 1882 through 1925, the indigent, institutionalized, and unclaimed were buried at the MCPFC. Archaeological excavations occurred at the Milwaukee County Institutions Grounds Froedtert Tract (site # 47 MI 527) in 1991-2 and again in 2013. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Archaeological Research Laboratory has final disposition of all materials recovered from the 1991-92 excavations, and of particular relevance to this project, the excavation notes, photographs, and human remains. Completed osteological analyses include inventory, biological profile, pathology, and taphonomy assessments. These assessments were completed according to standard osteological methods as outlined in the UWM-Cultural Resource Management (UWM-CRM) Human Remains Analysis Manual. Given the central role of the burial paperwork and photographs, the analysis protocol includes a final step creating a digital record of all burial information and completed analysis forms as part of the project data management plan. Two burials were chosen for this research because they included more than one individual in a coffin, which highlights the importance of burial paperwork and photographs in informing initial expectations for the analysis process. In the first case, there was no note of more than one individual in the coffin. In the second case, two distinct individuals were identified in the field. Inclusion of osteological analysis, burial paperwork and burial photographs help us share stories, explain aspects of life and death, and demonstrates the collectively powerful postmortem “lives” of those buried in the MCPFC.