Technical Report, Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Resources, Fourth Cliff Recreational Annex, Scituate, Massachusetts


The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. conducted an inventory of historic and archaeological resources at the U.S. Department of the Air Force Fourth Cliff Recreational Annex. Fourth Cliff is a 56-acre military property situated at the northern tip of the Humarock Peninsula in Scituate, Massachusetts. The firm of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, Inc. is overseeing all of the environmental, archaeological, and architectural studies in preparation for future planning activities.

A comprehensive building survey designed to identify and evaluate historic buildings and structures was undertaken. This involved background research, site visits to document the buildings and structures, the application of National Register of Historic Places criteria of eligibility, and the preparation of Massachusetts Historical Commission inventory forms. The survey identified 24 buildings and structures, including seven buildings and three structures dating from ca. 1920-ca. 1943, and fourteen buildings dating from 1 979 to the present. Survey recommendations concluded that three structures, Battery 208 and the two fire control towers, meet the National Register criteria of eligibility as a small district.

An intensive archaeological survey, designed to locate all below-ground cultural resources, involved background research, a walkover inspection, and subsurface testing. The 22 developed acres were ranked as having low potential to contain prehistoric and historic cultural resources due to the vertical and horizontal extent of the disturbance. This included the construction of a battery and other facilities as part of the World War II coastal defense system, and more recent construction since the 1970s associated with the property's use as a recreational facility, including cottages, picnic and camping facilities, and an extensive septic system. Subsurface testing was reserved for the 20 undeveloped upland acres in the western part of the property. This area was currently open, but maps dating from the 1940s showed the location of several houses and a road. Subsurface testing was conducted in the undeveloped parcel to locate any below ground evidence of prehistoric and historic period cultural resources. Due to the presence of nesting locations for two endangered species (the piping plover and terns), a barrier beach on the northern edge, and a tidal saltmarsh to the east, testing was restricted to a five to six acre area. During the walkover of this area, structural debris from the former houses and two wells were located. Subsurface testing consisted of 27, 50 x 50 cm test pits placed along four transects and in a 30 x 30 m block. Historical cultural material dating to the twentieth century were recovered as were cinder blocks and bricks associated with house construction. No earlier historical material and no prehistoric cultural material was found during the subsurface testing.

Due to the lack of any prehistoric and significant historic materials or features, no additional archaeological testing was recommended.

Cite this Record

Technical Report, Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Resources, Fourth Cliff Recreational Annex, Scituate, Massachusetts. Ann Davin, Virginia H. Adams, Craig Chartier, Amy McFeeters. 1993 ( tDAR id: 438511) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8438511

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -71.914; min lat: 42.084 ; max long: -70.565; max lat: 42.64 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Hanscom Air Force Base

Principal Investigator(s): Ann Davin

Prepared By(s): The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc.

Submitted To(s): Fay, Spofford and Thorndike, Inc.

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
PAL_Fourth-Cliff-Hist-Archeo-Report_1993_OCR_PDFA.pdf 6.61mb Dec 1, 1993 Sep 22, 2017 11:05:01 AM Confidential
This file is the unredacted version of this resource.

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Contact(s): Hanscom Air Force Base