Artifacts of Outlander

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Shaving - Many of the male characters in the Outlander television series wear substantial beards, but the English soldiers are not among them. Appearance would have been important to the men in the English Army, and a clean shave was part of routine hygiene for many soldiers.,  Photo image of earthenware basin:Buckley Earthenware Basin, Date: ca. 1740-1780, Site Name: Two Friends, Site Number:18CH308/Vessel 1 - The warped rim and uneven application of the thick black lead glaze on this basin are dead giveaways that this vessel was used for utilitarian functions, rather than making an appearance on the dining table. This type of English-made vessel, a coarse earthenware that archaeologists call Buckley-type, is a common find on archaeological sites in Maryland dating between the 1720s and 1770s. This shallow bowl could have served multiple functions in the kitchen for food preparation or storage, or it might have been pressed into service when someone needed a shave. Since the basin was not decorative, it only needed to be glazed on the interior to prevent liquid contents from seeping through the porous, low-fired earthenware body of the bowl., Photo image of a stoneware pitcher:English Stoneware Pitcher, Date: ca. 1720-1750, Site Name: Oxon Hill Manor, Site Number:18PR175/MV 18 -  Archaeologists and ceramic historians generally call this type of pottery Fulham-type stoneware. Drinking vessels, pitchers, and bottles were by far the most common Fulham-type stoneware forms. While most Fulham-type stoneware vessels were undecorated beyond simple turned bands or cordons (as seen along the neck of this piece), some drinking vessels used in commercial establishments were stamped with excise marks in the form of the initials of British royalty (WR for King William, AR for Queen Anne and GR for King George).  An act passed in Britain in 1700 required these excise marks to ensure standardization of vessel capacities in the tavern trade of beer and ale. These particular pitcher fragments do not have the excise mark, though it is possible the whole vessel they came from once did. The pitcher did not come from a tavern or public house though. Oxon Hill Manor was a private residence, so there was no need for standardized measurements, and a pitcher could be used for all kinds of activities from pouring beverages to providing water for shaving., Photo image of a straight razor:Straight Razor, Date: ca. 1825-1915, Site Name: Jackson Homestead, Site Number:18MO609/300 -  In the Outlander television series, Black Jack Randall’s folding razor has been passed down in the family for so many generations that Frank Randall still used it in the 1940s. The depiction of the razor as an heirloom helped connect different timelines in the show, but it might not be the most likely object to remain in use for so long. While iron blades with bone or ivory handles are relatively durable, the process of shaving puts these materials under strain. Water promotes rust, especially if it gets into the body of the handle which has an iron core and might be difficult to dry out. Plus, razors need to be sharp to achieve a comfortable shave, and repeated sharpening would eventually wear away at the metal blade. Most 18th-century razor blades in the MAC Lab’s collections are so worn or deteriorated by rusty corrosion that it is hard to tell what they would have looked like originally. This example was chosen for exhibit even though it is from a later site because technology in razor blades had not changed that much since the 1740s, and it was recovered from a house that burned down before the razor could be worn too thin to survive underground., Image of a print showing a female barber shaving a man, caption reads:A Female Barber Shaving a Man, mezzotint by I. Gale, late 17th or early 18th century.  Wellcome Library, London.