Friday, November 18, 2011

What's in YOUR backyard?

Craig Chartier, David Hassler,
Alden and Emily Chartier
After seeing the archeological dig at the Autumn Gathering at the Nye Homestead, I was curious to find out what lies lurking under the grass in my own back yard.  I contacted Craig Chartier of Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project in New Bedford who had performed the dig at the Nye Homestead.

Craig marked out a 1 meter square test pit fairly close to the back of the house.  I was hoping he would find physical evidence that the house dates to the late 1820's or early 1830's.  I live in Jarvesville which is a charming historic neighborhood of homes where workers of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Factory settled in the 1800's after the factory opened.  

Sandwich's assessment records date many of these homes to about 1857.  Huh? 1857!  The factory was built in 1825 and the B & S glass factory was incorporated in 1826.  So where did all the factory workers sleep until 1857?  Could be that the town's records reflect the date of the earliest map showing many of the homes, 1857.  In applying for the historical marker program that the Sandwich Historical Commission sponsors, I had dated the house to circa 1827.

Ok, so back to the hole in my backyard....

Turns out that we were right!  Craig, with the help of his trusty helpers, Alden and Emily, found broken chards of ceramics, porcelain and other pottery that dated back to the late 1820's or early 1830's.  They also found the remains of a cow, but lets not dwell on that.

Craig also helped identify many chards and objects that we've been digging up in our backyard when planting the petunias.  If you live in this neighborhood, you know that you can't garden for 5 minutes without turning up some piece of the past in the soil.

If you're wondering what you may have hiding beneath the grass, give Craig a call, and please, let me know what you turn up!

1 comment:

  1. That is super cool! Imagine what the rest of the yard might turn up! My wife and I found a similar pile of shards behind our Connecticut farm house when we were digging for a small garden right behind the house. Except our house was turn-of-the-century, not early 19th! I think it's great you were able to recover that stuff.


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