The 19th century practice of utilizing nightsoil from Philadelphia's and Baltimore's privies and poudrette pits as an agricultural fertilizing agent is documented. The practice of utilizing large aggregates of broken artifacts as a percolation device in privies precisely at the level of organic build-up is also documented. Because it is likely that quantities of artifacts became deposited in a secondary manner during the composting process, the practice is shown to have far-ranging implications for the study of 19th century material culture and behavior in rural or agricultural settings.
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