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Looking Forward Through the Past: A Re-Examination of Boston’s Archaeological Collections and Contributions

Author(s): Jennifer Poulsen ; Joseph Bagley

Year: 2014

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Summary

The archaeological study of Boston has provided unique insights into the lifeways of a 400-year old urban metropolis and contributes greatly to urban archaeological method and theory. Thirty years of survey at the African Meeting House re-defined what it meant to be a free person of African ancestry in the mid nineteenth century, while the Faneuil Hall excavations produced mountains of artifacts dating to the City’s first 100 years. The monumental excavations conducted as part of Boston’s ‘Big Dig’ proved that quality archaeology can be found in even the densest urban locations, including the Katherine Nanny Nailor privy, which broke every ‘rule’ of Puritan womanhood, and the Charlestown City Square excavations, an entire city block destroyed by the Battle of Bunker Hill and never re-developed, which produced over 1,000 boxes of artifacts. Together, these and many other sites continue to demonstrate the value of Boston archaeology, and urban archaeology, as a whole.


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Looking Forward Through the Past: A Re-Examination of Boston’s Archaeological Collections and Contributions. Jennifer Poulsen, Joseph Bagley. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437230)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-68,01

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America