Following the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, Detroit became an emerging urban and industrial center. In the early through mid-nineteenth century, private homes, hotels, manufacturers, and retail stores densely populated the Detroit riverfront. Over 19,000 artifacts from this waterfront neighborhood were recovered in 1973–1974, during construction of the Renaissance Center, within a nine cityblock area. The ceramics from this collection tell a rich story of people from various social classes and ethnicities having lived in close proximity during Detroit’s transformation into a metropolis. This research presents a comparative analysis of ceramic assemblages from five features within a portion of this neighborhood. A minimum number of vessels (MNV) count aids our understanding of trends in ceramics use and provides a ready comparison with other consumption patterns and functions of place within the diverse neighborhood. The results allow for a broader discussion of the scope and significance of the ceramics market in early urban Detroit.

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