Boston dig unearths 19th-century brothel

Oct. 18, 2010 at 1:22 PM

BOSTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A Boston privy uncovered after more than a century has yielded many details about the history of prostitution, an archaeologist said.

The 3,000 items were found during a 1993 archaeological survey linked to the Big Dig highway project, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

Including toothbrushes, jewelry, cosmetics and syringes used for hygiene, the haul from the now-buried site documents a thriving economy of vice.

"It's certainly not what historians and people in charge of the Duck Tours want to be part of what Boston was all about,'' Mary Beaudry of Boston University told the Globe. "We haven't had a good idea about what it was like to be involved in that trade.''

The artifacts, the most of their kind ever discovered in Boston, have not previously been publicized outside academic circles.

Beaudry said housing records show the property at 27-29 Endicott St. probably was used as a brothel for much of the time from 1852 to 1883.

Boston is estimated to have had 5,000 prostitutes in the late 19th century. Many of them were farm girls or immigrants, usually less than 25, who had moved to the city for work.

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