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A team from The Public Archaeology Laboratory has begun to dig in the backyard of the Phillips House. Their goal is to help Historic New England better understand the landscape so that we can improve drainage around the property’s carriage house. The findings of the recently published Cultural Landscape Report show a very different backyard in the early twentieth century from what visitors see today.
The report used the extensive archives, photographs, and films left by the Phillips family to reveal a backyard that was functional, including clotheslines, chicken coops, and a vegetable garden. Much of the yard was covered with a “macadamised,” or paved, surface and wooden walkways. Today, a cut-leaf beech, brick walkways, and lovely perennials decorate the yard.
After the archaeologists report their findings, Historic New England’s property care team will work with a team of civil engineers to devise a solution to drainage issues and better protect the buildings and landscape at 34 Chestnut Street.