Available now through October 23rd, visit the display located on the first floor of the Michael Schwartz Library, featuring artifacts discovered in the area previously known as the Central Market District in downtown Cleveland.
From 1991 through 1992 archaeologists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) along with historians from Cleveland State University explored and excavated an early community located southeast of Public Square in the area known locally as the Central Market District. To most Clevelanders the Central Market District, located in the shadows of the city's great skyline, brings to mind the bustle of busy nightclubs or the aging facades of old Cleveland landmarks. Few if any people would associate this area with archaeology, let alone remember that from 1796 through the 1860's this area was home to one of Cleveland's earliest frontier communities. Many of Cleveland's early immigrants made their way to this close-knit, working class neighborhood of small houses crammed closely together in the area defined by Ontario Street to the west, Prospect Avenue to the north, East Ninth Street (or Erie Street as it was known then) to the east, and Carnegie Avenue (or Ohio Street) to the south.
The Central Market District collection, which includes carefully recovered and analyzed fragments of cutlery, furniture, hardware, plates, bowls, cups, and saucers, show how individual families furnished their homes and entertained their guests. In addition, clay, stone, and glass marbles, lead soldiers and parts from ceramic dolls, clay tobacco pipes and musical instrument parts also offer unique and detailed information on the social aspects to the lives of past Clevelander's with regards to city's nineteenth century residential communities.
The objective of this summer research project involved the analysis, interpretation, and curation of more than 120,000 prehistoric and historic artifacts recovered from the Central Market District. In order to properly document the transition from a residential community to a commercial area, the crew fully documented, inventoried, and separated all of the historic artifacts by both the date they were manufactured and the areas that they were recovered in with regards to the structures nearby. Processing and analysis were conducted by Anthropology majors Rachel Daley, Katie Fry, and Kyle Riordan in the Department of Anthropology's archaeological curation laboratory and facilities. Artifact processing included the sorting, labeling, and general cataloging of all of the artifactual materials of the Central Market District. The items chosen were then carefully analyzed and researched using research documents, historic libraries, and special collections.