Coffee Cans and History

Who says archaeology is just digging up bones and shards of pottery? Not us Alaskans. Three archaeologists from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) noticed that the trappers and prospectors from way back when left a lot of coffee tins behind. Including lots of Hills Brothers coffee, which had distinctive labels that changed over time. That gave Steve Lanford, Robin Mills, and Chuck Adkins an idea. They created the “Hills Bros. Coffee Can Chronology” so you can look up any label and figure out which year it was produced, between 1900 and1963. Pretty cool, huh? What a fun research tool!

There are lots of fun parts of history. What historical research tool would you invent, or like someone to invent? Or what would you use to date a historical scene, if there were no Hills Brothers coffee cans?

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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