Archeological Collections Management of the Great Island Tavern Site, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts


This report describes the procedures used by the National Park Service, North Atlantic Regional Archeological Collections Management Project (hereafter abbreviated ACMP) to process, conserve, and curate the artifacts from four historic sites located on Great Island, in the town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Great Island is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore (CACO) of the National Park Service (NPS). The focus of this project is on the Great Island Tavern site (hereafter abbreviated GIT) because of it's research significance to historical archeologists and because of the paucity of data and information for the other three sites.

The focus of this collections project is on recataloging, reorganization, and evaluation of archeological remains excavated from the Great Island site. Several small bags of artifacts from three historic sites located during a judgemental survey of Island also are dealt with and discussed within this report.

The archeological field work on Great Island in 1969 and 1970 was directed by Erik Ekholm and James Deetz, research associate and staff archeologist respectively, for Plimoth Plantation at the time. Because Great Island is part of CACO, the work was initiated and funded by the NPS under the supervision of John L. Cotter, then Regional Archeologist for the Northeast Office in Philadelphia.

The GIT site originally was found by NPS archeologists during a survey of Great Island in the late 1960's. Local tradition suggested that the site was either the remains of seventeenth century Dutch trading post or a tavern operated by a Samuel Smith (Ekholm and Deetz 1971:49). Hence the purpose of Ekholm and Deetz's archeological excavations was to determine the site's date and identify its function before unauthorized excavations further disturbed the original context of the site (Deetz 1977:33; Ekholm and Deetz 1970a:l). The archeological survey was conducted in the spring of 1970 after library research revealed that lengthy human occupation and ecological change for. Great Island in particular, and the Wellfleet area in general (Erik Ekholm, 1970:1) had occurred.

The GIT site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as the Samuel Smith Tavern site. This name was chosen because local folk tradition stated that this site was the remains of Samuel Smith's tavern (Ekholm and Deetz 1970a:4). Ekholm and Deetz (1971) termed the site the Wellfleet Tavern because of its location within the town of Wellfleet. Since then, the Division of Cultural Resources has decided to change the site's name to the Great Island Tavern because it identifies the site's location more specifically.

Cite this Record

Archeological Collections Management of the Great Island Tavern Site, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Alan Synenki, Sheila Charles. Archeological Collections Management Project ,3. Boston, MA: Division of Cultural Resources, North Atlantic Regional Office, National Park Service. 1984 ( tDAR id: 5902) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NP22K0

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1690 to 1740

Spatial Coverage

min long: -70.075; min lat: 41.909 ; max long: -70.05; max lat: 41.93 ;

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 360781

NADB citation id number(s): 000000055523

File Information

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