Initial Survey and Identification of Archaeological Resources at the Historic Winslow House


At the request of the Historic Winslow House Association of Marshfield, under MHC permit 2193, archaeologists from the CCEH at University of Massachusetts Boston initiated a survey of archaeological resources on the Historic Winslow House property. This property is the remaining portion of the Careswell Winslow estate, originally granted to Edward Winslow, Mayflower Pilgrim and three-time governor of Plymouth Colony. The extant house on the current 20-acre land parcel was built by his grandson Isaac Winslow between 1699 and 1724, and has been continuously occupied until its acquisition and maintenance as an historic house in the early 20th century. A review of identified archaeological sites in Marshfield and associated Winslow historic documentation indicates that the potential for intact cultural resources on the

property is very high. Further, local oral tradition has suggested the existence of a tunnel leading from the cellar of the existing 18th century structure. The current project has two aims: to initiate the identification of both pre- and post-Contact archaeological resources on the property, to aid in future management and protection of those resources; and to investigate the possible existence of a tunnel associated with the house. This survey was accomplished using non-invasive geophysical testing of the majority of the cleared landscape and subsurface testing on a systematic ten-meter grid for the land immediately surrounding the extant structures. More extensive excavation (2 1x2m units) was undertaken to

define the features associated with the House structure on the south and east sides. The physical testing of the property was complemented by a review of documentation relating to the history of landscape use on this property and in the wider Marshfield area. This documentation was of both archaeological findings and text records, as well as more recent historiographic syntheses. The results of the geophysical and archaeological survey to date have not identified a tunnel,

though the features associated directly with the structure suggest a previously used bulkhead entrance which was closed and filled, and deposition related to the repair and renovation of the house under its current stewardship. More broadly, the property retains some archaeological features resulting from earlier activities. Significant features included an undisturbed shell-pit feature containing 18th century European material; two areas of 19th century domestic trash deposition immediately adjacent to the house; and an iron pipe with a refilled trench, most likely dating to the early 20th century. Overall the property is most evidently affected by the 20th century landscape and structural preservation work. A small number of fragments of quartz debitage were recovered from widely scattered areas, suggesting that evidence of Native

American occupation may have been disturbed by later occupation, and that testing further from the house may identify more intact remains.

Cite this Record

Initial Survey and Identification of Archaeological Resources at the Historic Winslow House. Katherine Hayes, Stephen Silliman, Elizabeth Kiniry. Cultural Resource Management Study ,12. 2004 ( tDAR id: 371550) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8XK8CWG

Spatial Coverage

min long: -70.753; min lat: 42.039 ; max long: -70.699; max lat: 42.114 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Mark Schmidt

Contributor(s): Karin Goldstein

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