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Lott House Mystery Object "Brooklyn's Eighteenth-Century Lott House"
1999-2001

Chris Ricciardi: These two glass eggs, found in the stone kitchen, stumped us. We thought they might be mending eggs, once used in forming and darming the toes of socks, but mending eggs were typically wooden. So we posted a picture of the eggs on a web site frequented by historical archaeologists and asked if anyone recognized them. In no time, we heard back from an archaeologist from the mid-west. "What kind of historical archaeologist are you," he wanted to know, "not recognizing 'hen laying eggs'?" The kind from New York, I guess. An unusual artifact in these parts, hen laying eggs were placed beneath hens that can't lay eggs so they'll lay more. They function like a placebo, and apparently they work. The presence of hen laying eggs in the kitchen, when the Lotts did indeed have a hen house, might be taken to suggest that if this was a slave quarters the slaves had their own animals.

(Courtesy Brooklyn College)

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© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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