Archaeological Investigations at the Nathan Tufts Park, Somerville, Massachusetts

Author(s): Paul J. Mohler

Year: 2000


The Center for Cultural and Environmental History (CCEH) at the University of

Massachusetts Boston conducted a Phase I Reconnaissance Survey of Nathan Tufts Park

(also known as Powder House Park) in Somerville, Massachusetts. With no previous

surveys conducted in the area, the reconnaissance survey of 65,000 square feet around the

Old Powder House was directly linked to planned renovations to both the structure and

the surrounding grounds.

Nathan Tufts Park derives its primary significance from the Old Mill/Old Powder

House. Based on documentary research, the structure was built as a mill between 1704

and 1720. Twenty-five shovel test pits, each measuring 50 cm2, were positioned along a

5-meter grid system around the Old Powder House. Two judgmental test pits were

positioned at the base of the structure. One hundred thirty-six augur borings were

positioned along a 10-meter grid system in order to examine the rest of the Park.

Based on subsurface testing, the property surrounding the Old Powder House

appears to possess high historical significance. Yet, given the extensive degree of

landscaping across the Park, much of the archaeological record has since been destroyed.

Our archaeological investigation provided a slight glimpse of the property’s land use

history since the late 19th-century. In addition to the Old Powder House itself, the Park

has primarily retained evidence of the historic landscaping conducted by James H.

Bowditch in 1892, increasing our knowledge of park construction and design during the

Progressive Period.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at the Nathan Tufts Park, Somerville, Massachusetts. Paul J. Mohler. Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research Cultural Resource Management Study ,5. 2000 ( tDAR id: 369561) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8QF8R2F

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1892 to 1950

Spatial Coverage

min long: -71.135; min lat: 42.381 ; max long: -71.097; max lat: 42.422 ;

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