Alexander Anthony presents research at the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting

Title: There is Nothing Like Looking if You Want to Find Something – The Emerging Accessibility of Historic Documents and the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery
Session: Bookends – What We’ve Learned in the Twenty-two Years Separating Archaeological Excavations of the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery
Organization: Society for Historical Archaeology 2017, Fort Worth, Texas

Since the foundation of the Society for Historic Archaeology 50 years ago changing technology has dramatically transformed historic document research. Historical data that would’ve taken countless hours of research to uncover is now available through a few clicks of a mouse. Modern technology cannot be relied upon for all historic research; it can, however, lead the researcher down previously undiscovered paths.

Document research initiated in 2013 has aided in the reinterpretation of the archaeological data from the 91-92 Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery excavations. Internet archival newspaper research has revealed evidence of the disinterment and reuse of graves on the cemetery grounds. The digital historic data paired with traditional document research has led to the reevaluation of the archaeological data in portions of the cemetery excavations. Twenty-two years of research at MCIG has revealed how modern technology has increased document accessibility critical to our understanding of historic sites.