Final Report on the 1985 Wellfleet Bay Archaeological Field School

Author(s): Linda A. Towle

Year: 1986


A one-week archaeological field school was held at the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod during July 1985. The field school, intended for interested adults with no previous archaeological experience, was directed by prehistoric archaeologist, Linda Towle with Mary Ann Larson, a Yankee Intern, as field assistant. Mary Ann's internship was sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Yankee Publishing, Inc., and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Eight people participated in the program.

The property that now comprises the Wellfleet Bay sanctuary has been known since the 1920s for the prehistoric artifacts collected there. Howard Torrey, an avocational archaeologist from Reading, Massachusetts, collected over 450 artifacts from four different parts of the property. The Torrey collection, which includes these artifacts, was donated to the R. S. Peabody Foundation in Andover, Massachusetts.

The field school project followed up on a 1984 survey of the Sanctuary by Towle. The 1985 fieldwork involved the excavation of both shovel test pits and 1 m by 1 m excavation units and the screening of all dirt through 1/4 inch mesh. Laboratory work included washing, bagging, and identifying the excavated artifacts.

The 1985 field school investigated four areas for their archaeological potential. Two of the areas were determined not to have archaeological potential. the other two areas produced prehistoric artifacts and warrant further testing. Some of the areas are included within the recorded sites, 19-BN-86 and 19-BN-87. Some of the area has been plowed, however, sub-plowzone material also was found. Areas designated as B and C in the report produced prehistoric artifacts and are within the boundary of the recorded site 19-BN-86. This appears to have been a lithic manufacturing area.

Another area investigated, designated as "the old asparagus field" is within the boundary of the recorded site 19-BN-87. The excavation units in this area yielded 727 prehistoric and 201 historic period artifacts. Prehistoric artifacts included: 617 lithic flakes, 104 pottery sherds, 3 core fragments, 2 scrapers, and 1 broken projectile point base. Most of this area has been plowed and most of the prehistoric material was found in the plowzone. However, some of the prehistoric material was from undisturbed context beneath the plowzone. The quantity of flakes indicated that lithic tool-making and repair was an activity carried out at this site.

Cite this Record

Final Report on the 1985 Wellfleet Bay Archaeological Field School. Linda A. Towle. Lincoln, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Audubon Society. 1986 ( tDAR id: 437494) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8FT8PKR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -70.016; min lat: 41.868 ; max long: -69.988; max lat: 41.89 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Landowner(s): Massachusetts Audubon Society

Sponsor(s): Massachusetts Audubon Society

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