Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Effie Athanassopoulos

Second Advisor

Rebecca Buller

Date of this Version

Fall 11-2023

Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor Effie Athanassopoulos

Lincoln, Nebraska, November 2023


Copyright © 2023, Mariska Molnar


In the Fall of 2018, Matthew Hansen monitored the destruction of a parking lot two blocks north of the Capitol Building in Lincoln, Nebraska for the subsequent building of a geothermal system. During this period, and excavation was conducted with the aid of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Campus Archaeology Project, and 12 features were identified. Five features produced artifacts, with Feature 11, a cistern, being the most fruitful. The collection was named the Capitol Wellfield, and a portion of the artifacts, which includes diagnostic glass and ceramic pieces, are housed on campus for studying.

Most research and publication have been focused on older excavations and deposits housed at the university. The culture and landscape of Lincoln, Nebraska has been explored through these pieces as well. What this study aims to do is set a basis for future research into the Capitol Wellfield and its residents. Not much is known about the neighborhood and its consumerism habits at the turn of the 20th century. The following research lays a base foundation of information into the neighborhood, its residents and their consumer habits while living in Lincoln. Then, the Capitol Wellfield will be compared to the Kauffman Collection to find similarities and differences between residents living in different parts of the city.

This study will also serve as the excavation report and will document the process in which the project was completed. In the future, the Capitol Wellfield collection will continue to be catalogued and investigated. This will lead to opportunities for further comparisons to the Kauffman Dormitory, the Student Union, and Ross Film Theater collections. Overall, this project lays the foundation of information on consumerism in a developing city in the Early 20th Century.

Advisor: Effie Athanassopoulos