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A Seditious Cufflink From the Colonial Resistance Wardrobe

An archaeological dig in Brunswick Town, North Carolina, has unearthed a Revolutionary War-era tavern. Adam Pohlman, a visiting student volunteer, found a peculiar relic of the time- a cufflink with a meme printed on it.

“It looked like a dirty piece of gravel. But we cleaned it up and could shine light through it,” says Charles Ewen, director of the Phelps Archaeological Laboratory and leader of the dig. “It was a translucent blue glass, a bead-type thing, a little over a centimeter in length.”

But it was a little more than a bead-type thing. On it was cut: “WILKES AND LIBERTY 45.”

Okay, we know what liberty is, but who was Wilkes, and why the number 45? Together, they show the politics of the person who wore the cufflink, in the days when even the tiniest indication of dissent could cause big trouble. Read about the cufflink and the meaning behind it at Atlas Obscura.  

(Image credit: Adam Pohlman and Charles Ewen)

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