Archaeological Investigations at the Nathan Tufts Park, Somerville, Massachusetts
Author(s): Paul J. Mohler
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
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
Nathan Tufts Park
Calendar Date: 1892 to 1950
min long: -71.129; min lat: 42.376 ; max long: -71.092; max lat: 42.415 ;
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