Archaeology paves way for drainage project at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Dec 11, 2012

Archaeologists are busy investigating several key areas around Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm (1690) in Newbury, Massachusetts. The project includes modifications to existing drainage systems, both at grade and below the surface, that will move water away from the buildings and prevent basement flooding. Before disturbing the ground for the drainage project, however, Historic New England hired archaeologists to dig shovel test pits throughout the landscape. The archaeologists will determine whether or not the project could disturb any important underground resources. So far, the team has found glass shards, china pieces, animal bones, and a small pitcher from a toy tea set.

One interesting find along the east side of the museum was a dudeen, or Irish short pipe. These pipes first appeared around 1840, and were favored by Irish working men because they could be held in the teeth with both hands free, unlike long pipes.

The archaeologists will continue the test pits through mid-December. For more information on working with archaeologists or site drainage, check out our white papers.

With dramatic increases in precipitation predicted over the next fifty years, projects like this are critical for preserving our cultural heritage. Historic New England has secured partial funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, but we still need to raise additional funds for the implementation of the drainage project at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm. Please consider donating to the Preservation Maintenance Fund.