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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF HEALTH AT CAMP LAWTON (9JS1)

Abstract

The study of confinement in an archaeological context is a growing field, and there has been previous archaeological work conducted on sites of Civil War prisons. There seems to be, however, a gap in the archaeological research concerning health and medicine specifically at American Civil War prison camps. Camp Lawton (9JS1), in Millen, Georgia, provides an excellent opportunity to understand the lives of both its prisoners and the guards through the lens of material culture related to health and medicine using collections-based analysis. Health and medicine-related material culture as it pertains to this project will consist of medicine bottles, medical equipment, alcohol bottles, and tobacco-related materials. This research will attempt to answer the following questions (1)what might the presence of this material culture in both the stockade and guard camps say about life at Camp Lawton? and (2) what might the presence of this material culture reveal about the overall health of both the prisoners and guards? Through the comparison of these health-related artifacts from Camp Lawton with similar artifacts from contemporary prisons, Fort Pulaski and the Andersonville Prison, and a creation of spatial distribution maps of these materials at Camp Lawton, this project will consider the health-related practices of Civil War prisoners and guards. The study of these materials and their provenience offers more insight into the health of prisoners and guards, and the overall experience of the American Civil War prison system.

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