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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. 

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]

Archaeologicals find some piece

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?