Old North’s Mini Courses: #3 – Beneath Old North, or, Digging up Stuff Is Cool
By Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis
Has it been awhile since your high school history classes? Have you been watching too many historically inaccurate movies or TV shows? Or maybe you’re just looking for some old-fashioned intellectual stimulation? Then look no further than Old North’s Mini Courses! Each month we will offer a new mini-course on a variety of topics for all the couch-based learners out there. What’s not required: registration, a specific digital platform, hours of your time, quizzes, or grades. What is required: a love of reading, an interest in or curiosity about historical topics, and an open mind.
(If you missed our first two mini-courses, click over here for your crash course on the American Revolution or here for your in-depth look at preservation work in action.)
Below, dig in to some dirt-covered details on Old North’s hidden history.
1. First, make sure you’re familiar with the basics of archaeology as a field and why it’s important for our understanding of history. [ ACADEMIC ARTICLE]
2. Take archaeology 101 with Boston City Archaeologist Joe Bagley for an overview of the profession in our city. [YOUTUBE VIDEO – 26 min.]
3. Gain a greater understanding of what recent archaeological digs on our site have revealed about people from past centuries who lived on our plot of land.
- Find out the results from the 2013 excavation behind the Clough House, a historic home on our property. [BLOG POST, DOCUMENTS, IMAGES]
- Follow the progression of the 2016/2017 Washington Garden excavation: the reason for the excavation, phase 1, beginning of phase 2, and the completion of phase 2. [BLOG POSTS]
- Watch this short clip from WGBH of City Archaeologist Joe Bagley at work with his team in our Washington Garden. [VIDEO – 2:36 min.]
- See the full lecture of Joe Bagley revealing the findings from the dig in the Washington Garden. [VIDEO – 1:02 hr.]
- Read the Boston Globe article about the 2017 dig inside our crypt. [NEWS ARTICLE]
- Discover the results of the excavation in our crypt as well as the tomb opening. [BLOST POST, DOCUMENTS, IMAGES, REPORT]
3. Draw parallels between what was found on our site and what was found in a 2017 excavation at the Paul Revere House. [NEWS ARTICLE]
4. Consider Boston’s long history with “made land” and how that affects what we find beneath the city. [SCHOLARLY ARTICLE]
After you’ve reviewed the articles and resources above, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned. Write in the comments section below, answering any of the following questions:
- What was your favorite article or resource and why?
- What can the findings from the excavations at Old North tell us about the people who lived on our site?
- If archaeology was NOT a profession, how might that impact our understanding of history? What do we gain from the work of archaeologists?