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Over the next few years, they aim to analyse up to a million finds unearthed during the dig. Home to 1, working women, dozens of madams, countless bars and gambling dens, and a workplace for hundreds of blues and early jazz musicians, this tiny district and its surrounding areas also ended up making a giant contribution to US and world musical culture.
Indeed, some of the most famous early 20th-century popular music musicians played there. The archaeological excavations are now complete — but hundreds of thousands of prostitution, drink, drug, food and music-related finds now await detailed analysis. Over the past half decade, teams of archaeologists have spent a total of around 25 months systematically investigating Storyville and have unearthed hundreds of thousands of artefacts.
Preliminary analysis of the finds shows that among the artefacts dominating the material culture of Storyville were whiskey bottles used predominantly by bar and brothel customers and rouge pots used by the prostitutes themselves. Hundreds of each have been unearthed across the site. Not only did the working women have to look good, they also had to smell good — and the archaeological investigation has indeed also yielded dozens of French perfume bottles used by them.
Venereal disease VD was, of course, a constant threat — and the archaeologists have unearthed VD medicine containers, plungers for self-administering medication and special vaginal cleansing nozzles used to reduce the risk of contracting VD.
Women and men often wore numerous layers of clothing significantly more than today — so in a largely pre-zip era consummation of a sexual contract often required the undoing of terrifyingly large numbers of buttons. Unsurprisingly, in the urgency of such procedures, a lot broke free of their garments — and archaeologists have now found hundreds of buttons all across Storyville. The archaeological investigation, led by a senior New Orleans archaeologist — Mike Godzinski of a local cultural resource management company, Earth Search Inc — has also revealed that drugs were relatively important in the economy of the district.