Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NH Project Archaeology announces workshop

Project Archaeology is a comprehensive archaeology and heritage education program for everyone interested in learning or teaching about our nation’s rich cultural legacy and protecting it for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Project Archaeology includes publications, professional development for educators, networking opportunities, and continuing support for participants Using an innovative hands-on approach to history, Project Archaeology teaches scientific inquiry, citizenship, personal ethics and character, and cultural understanding.

The new NH Coordinators for Project Archaeology are Strawbery Banke's own Sheila Charles and Tanya Krajcik, the Records Coordinator of the NH Division of Historical Resources.

Project Archaeology's mission is to foster an "understanding of past and present cultures; improve social studies and science education; and enhance citizenship education to help preserve our archaeological legacy" (

This year, Project Archaeology will include one teacher workshop. The workshop will be held April 1, 2011 at the Nashua Historical Society from 9am to 4pm and is designed for teachers of 3rd-8th grade. Each participant will receive a copy of Intrigue of the Past: A Teacher's Activity Guide for Fourth Through Seventh Grades that includes 28 lesson plans, presentation by NH State Archaeologist Richard Boisvert, hands-on guidance through lessons including the process of archaeology and issues in preserving history, instruction in experimental techniques, information about New Hampshire's unique archaeological record, and many hands-on activities and classroom materials.

The cost of the workshop is $36, which includes the class book, Intrigues of the Past, a light breakfast and a catered lunch. All attendees must pre-register by March 15, 2011, and space is limited.

For information on registration and more program details, please visit the NH Project Archaeology Page. The program also has it's own NH Project Archaeology Blog.

Results from intern Ben Curran

Intern Ben Curran scanned and rectified historic and archaeological maps of the Puddle Dock neighborhood that depict landscape changes over time. These maps will now be availablefor state management and research.

Curran also conducted a Ground Penetrating Radar survey to create GIS maps to identify archaeologically sensitive areas around the Chase House, Hough House, Marshall Pottery, and Puddle Dock. The scans of a filled in foundation near the Marshall Pottery site may have revealed the location of a Jewish ceremonial Mikvah bath. The scans of Puddle Dock are being analyzed to determine the potential affects of tidal change of the water table.

2010 Archaeoparasitologist Field School Results

Archaeoparasitologist Diana Gallagher, Boston University PhD candidate, retrieved soil samples during the 2010 field school for parasite analysis of the privy to assess diet, health and hygiene. Gallagher indicated while samples have been run twice, no evidence of parasites or seeds have been identified! Gallagher concludes the Chase House privy may be an example of a 19th century privy that was appropriately cleaned according to legal dictated standards. In addition, the lack of night soil may be due to heavy rains and the rising and falling of the Puddle Dock water table, essentially flushing away the organic material. However, other sites at Strawbery Banke and in other locations (e.g., Ferryland privy in Newfoundland on the seawall) have contained seeds and comparative research indicates night soil is often concentrated at the base of the privy pit. Further excavation is required to reach the base of the Chase House privy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Charles presents Chase House at Great Bay Discovery Center

On Wednesday January 19th at noon (snow date will be the 21st), the Great Bay Discovery Center is hosting a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture with Strawbery Banke Museum’s Staff Archaeologist, Sheila Charles as speaker. Her talk will focus on the latest excavations of the outlying buildings on the site of the Chase House. The house constructed ca. 1762 was the first restored structure at the Strawbery Banke Museum and was the home of merchant Stephen Chase and his family for most of the 19th century. The dig has been conducted over the past three summers with many artifacts and archaeological discoveries made that will be used for public education and interpretation.

The program will be held in the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center and is free with no registration required. Drinks and dessert will be available so bring a lunch and join us for this lecture. For more information on this event or other programs, please call the Center at 603-778-0015. The Center is located at 89 Depot Road on the Greenland/Stratham town line just off Route 33. It is the educational facility for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and is funded by NOAA and administered by NH Fish and Game Department.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Welcome Samatha Hall, UNH Durham

Welcome to Samantha Hall, UNH Durham graduate student who will be joining the Archaeology and Collections Department this spring. She will be conducting research on ceramics recovered from the Chase House site and comparative study materials from the Ceramic Collection at Strawbery Banke. Sam will also be updating the blog, so stay tuned for new entries after January 25th.