Historical Archaeology at Emma and Joseph Smith, Jr’s Farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania

Author(s): Matthew Kirk; Corey McQuinn; Benjamin Pykles

Year: 2014


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Church) and Hartgen completed excavations at the home of Church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in Harmony Township, Penna., in advance of a new interpretive center. The visitors’ center incorporates two important properties in Church history: the Smiths’ home (c.1827-1830) where Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon; and, the home and farm of his father-in-law, Isaac Hale (c.1792’1843). A principal goal of the investigation was to gather data in support of the reconstruction of the two farmsteads. This paper focuses on the Smith house, which had a complex building history marked by attached houses, a ruinous fire, demolition in the twentieth century, and re-use of the property as a historical site. In addition to ascertaining the evolution of house components, archaeologists also uncovered sheet middens from the Smith-period. The Church has a long history with historical archaeology starting at Nauvoo, Illinois that began in 1961 and flourished for a time under J.C. ‘Pinky’ Harrington. The paper concludes by placing this work into the framework of Church archaeology with emphasis on recent studies at other interpretative sites.

Cite this Record

Historical Archaeology at Emma and Joseph Smith, Jr’s Farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Matthew Kirk, Corey McQuinn, Benjamin Pykles. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437268)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-71,05