Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Storey, Glenn

First Committee Member

Lillios, Katina

Second Committee Member

Beck, Margaret

Third Committee Member

Schnell, Scott

Fourth Committee Member

Kuntz, J K.


This study considers how fundamental shifts in the relationship between religion, community, and public life are reflected in the archaeological record of four excavation sites in the Amana Colonies—a former school (1870-present), a church (1865-present), a domestic outhouse (1860s-present), and a remote farmstead (1860s-1890s). The Colonies are a collection of seven villages founded and settled by German pietists in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1932 this community voluntarily abandoned the religiously-led communal lifestyle that it had practiced in Iowa for 76 years—a fundamental alteration in community structure that became known as the Great Change. This study was initially formulated to examine material culture—specifically privy refuse—from before and after the Great Change with an eye toward identifying shifts in the kinds, amounts, or origins of material goods used and discarded by Amana citizens. Though the original questions posed by the study could not be fully addressed with the data available, the sampled sites did offer several insights into the ways that the Amana citizens used space and material culture before and after the communal period. Artifacts collected at a domestic outhouse suggest that the structure had been re-purposed for use in the disposal of food preparation waste after the Great Change. A comparison of artifact densities between the sites indicated a high intensity of use of the grounds of the church, likely reflective of the community’s organization around religious identity. Finally, an analysis of the relative frequency of three types of artifacts found in quantity at all sites (metal, glass, and ceramic) led to the conclusion that the remote farmstead likely reflects a lifeway outside the Amana norm, and may suggest the ways in which Amana material usage was shaped by communal living.


Amana, Historical, Outhouse, Pietist, Privy, Utopian


xi, 154 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 121-129).


Copyright © 2017 Christian Jeffrey Haunton

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