Archaeological Overview and Assessment, Bunker Hill Monument: Charlestown, Massachusetts

Author(s): Kristen Heitert

Year: 2009


PAL completed an Archaeological Overview and Assessment (AOA) of the Bunker Hill Monument located in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The project methodology included primary and secondary-source archival research; a walkover survey of the park; pre- and post-contact cultural context development; the summary and critical evaluation of previous archeological surveys, geotechnical studies, and artifact assemblages; and the development of recommendations for future research and National Register eligibility determinations for known sites. The AOA encompassed the review of the documentation and associated artifact collections for the eight archeological surveys projects that have been conducted on the monument property from 1980–2006, and resulted in the identification of a total 18 archeological properties. Of those properties, six (6) were recommended as potentially eligible for listing in the National Register including the remains of the redoubt trench feature associated with the Battle of Bunker Hill Period of Significance (1775); and the obelisk foundation and associated structural elements and the remains of the Holmes hoisting apparatus, all of which are associated with the Commemorative Period of Significance (1825–1902). In consideration of the actual and potential contributions of archeological research to a more substantive understanding of the history of the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Bunker Hill commemorative period, the AOA recommended that any future amendments to the existing National Register documentation for the Bunker Hill National Monument include post-contact period archeology as an area of significance for the property under Criterion D.

Using the inferred and observed landscape history of the site in combination with the archeological data, the AOA also provides an archeological sensitivity map of the property for resources dating to both the Battle of Bunker Hill and Commemorative periods of significance. The AOA suggests that the development of more reliable geo-prospecting techniques likely will provide the most cost effective and least destructive method of archeological research at the site. In the meantime, targeted trench and unit excavations conducted in advance of proposed construction projects are recommended are recommended as the best strategy for exposing additional resources at the site and providing better definition of the known resources, including the redoubt feature. The AOA concludes with recommendations regarding public education opportunities using the archeological data collected from the property to date.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Overview and Assessment, Bunker Hill Monument: Charlestown, Massachusetts. Kristen Heitert. PAL Reports ,No. 2141. Lowell, Massachusetts: Northeast Region Archeology Program National Park Service. 2009 ( tDAR id: 375154) ; doi:10.6067/XCV88G8KDP

Spatial Coverage

min long: -71.071; min lat: 42.354 ; max long: -71.048; max lat: 42.387 ;

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