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Watch this video on YouTube. Slideshow by Amy Laskowski. Buried there were items of importance to the women who made their living outside the margins of polite society: hairbrushes, medicines, and vaginal syringes used for self-medicating and cleaning. Now, a team of archaeology students from BU is studying these artifacts to find out what they reveal about how the residents of one Boston brothel lived.
The team hopes that by studying the more than 3, artifacts recovered from the outhouse and using old city records, they can gain insight into the day-to-day lives of prostitutes believed to have lived at the property between and At first, little was known about the artifacts or the people they once belonged to.
In the course of their work, the archaeologists have deduced that personal hygiene was of great importance to these women—besides the hairbrushes, medicines, and syringes, items found included toothbrushes, hair combs, and tobacco-related items. The Big Dig During the massive highway project, construction crews excavated a site called Mill Pond , which in had been filled in when the city needed more space to expand.
Crews found a sealed, wood-lined privy the under portion of an outhouse filled with items that begged for further inspection. During the 19th century, before the advent of municipal trash collection, privies were used not only as toilets, but for general household waste disposal. Because of limited funding, Massachusetts officials stipulated at the time of the Big Dig that the state would pay to study only those excavated items believed to have been manufactured before He was delighted.
Research into city records revealed that the privy had been attached to a brothel at 27 and 29 Endicott St. Records showed that the buildings belonged to a Mrs. Lake eventually married a Dr. He prescribed unusual remedies for the women, most likely for treating sexually transmitted diseases and inducing abortions.