I’m excited to announce that my article on the early iron coffin industry has been published in the Archaeological Society of New Jersey’s Bulletin. Please contact me if you would like a copy, or go to ASNJ.org to get a copy of the entire journal.
Fisk’s airtight, metallic burial cases were created in response to the negative consequences of a confluence of factors that had been steadily building during the second quarter of the 19th century. The coffin’s ability to preserve both occupant and burial costume has afforded archaeologists unparalleled opportunities to better understand mid-19th-century funerary practices, as well as the health and sometimes death of the occupant. Omissions in the historical record, repeated in secondary sources, have resulted in an incomplete account of the early industry, which at times has had a limiting effect on archaeological interpretation. Although questions remain, new archival research and a reassessment of these sources have corrected the record and offer a clearer narrative of the early industry and coffin model chronology. Additionally, some of the dominant cultural and temporal contexts regarding the original coffin’s invention, appearance and appeal are presented.
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