Graves in the Forest: Mapping Lost Colonial Cemeteries in the Oyster River Watershed

Author(s): Emily Mierswa; Crystina Friese; Meghan Howey

Year: 2018


The Oyster River watershed in New Hampshire was home to some of the earliest English colonial occupation outside of Boston with settlements starting in the early 1630s. This early colonial occupation as well as subsequent historic settlement of the area has left an extensive array of archaeological features in the landscape. Currently, however, this landscape is heavily forested making identification of even remnant built sites difficult. The forested setting makes it particularly hard to find and correctly identify the extent of early cemeteries given graves were marked only with simple, unengraved fieldstones easily obscured by even slight brush. This poster presents the results of an intensive field survey and mapping program we conducted on one now overgrown early colonial family cemetery used from the mid 1600s to the early 1800s. We contextualize the results of our work with available archival records from the period. By contrasting our results with previous maps of the cemetery, we demonstrate how important the intensive field survey and digital mapping approach developed here is for creating full understandings of these important early sites.

Cite this Record

Graves in the Forest: Mapping Lost Colonial Cemeteries in the Oyster River Watershed. Emily Mierswa, Crystina Friese, Meghan Howey. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442791)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21755