Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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.

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