Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Phillip Neusius, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Benjamin L. Ford, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John Silmarx, Ph.D.


Ceramics are one of the most frequently-studied artifacts in archaeological contexts, and have been used to demonstrate how people in rural and urban communities convey ideas of wealth, social order and personal choice. This thesis examined ceramic artifacts from a mid-nineteenth-century general store in Smicksburg, Pennsylvania to assess how a rural community responded to general social and economic trends of Victorian America. A context for socioeconomic status for Pennsylvania was developed, and characterized Smicksburg as a middle-class community. Changes in the relative economic value of the ceramics were calculated using the CC Value Index. The ceramic analysis found that Smicksburg experienced a slight improvement in socioeconomic status during the second half of the century. The analysis of Smicksburg demonstrated that the socioeconomics of the town were influenced by the surrounding rural community, and that the CC Index was an effective tool for supporting the historical record.