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Biography: Rachel Archambault

Rachel Archambault

Rachel Archambault is a recipient of the 2020 Rakow Grant for Glass Research for the project “Exploring Nineteenth-Century Québec Bottles and Tableware: An Exceptional Archaeological Case Study.” Archambault will study how the 19th-century cult of domesticity influenced the daily activities and consumer choices of a middle-class household in Limoilou, Québec, by examining archaeological glassware and alcohol bottles. These objects were found in the excavation of a privy used from 1870 to 1897 by Karl Pitl, the local German consul and merchant, and his family. She will document the types of glassware found in the privy as an index for the availability and accessibility of glass products in Québec, and, in turn, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by the middle-class Pitl family.

“Bourgeois families followed codified behaviors and acquired material goods that suited their social rank,” says Archambault. “Victorian ideology positions women as guardians of the moral values of the household, where their world is centered on daily domestic life.” Archambault hopes to be able to identify this ideological influence in the acquisition, use, and, ultimately, abandonment of glassware and bottles.

Archambault is a graduate student at Université Laval, in Quebec, Canada.