How did this happen? you may be wondering. Well, I met Joe Bagley, Boston City Archaeologist, a few weeks back when I was taking the workshop through the Leventhal Map Center. Joe brought the group on a walking archaeological tour of Boston. During his tour he mentioned the upcoming dig at Old North Church. He went on to say that if anyone was interested in volunteering to contact him. My History Geek Radar perked up when I heard that. That night I began bombarding Joe with emails and eventually texts that I wanted to volunteer. I finally got a response after several days. Archaeology in Boston keeps Joe very busy, so it took a while for him to get through all of his emails.
So I picked a day that would work with my schedule and hoped on the train from Lowell and headed to North Station. Ironically, I was reading The Girl on the Train when I took the train to Boston, but that is another story for another time. Once I arrived in Boston, I made may way over to the dig site and introduced myself to Joe and some of the other volunteers.
Joe went over some important information about the dig site. In the 1830s three tenement buildings were built on that spot. A survey was done in June when two trenches were dug. During that time, Joe and his volunteers unearthed what they thought were cisterns. Our task was to begin preparing the site for the dig. That meant removing shrubbery, hauling away benches and stone pavers- chop, lift, haul, repeat- who needs crossfit when you have an archaeological dig? Later in the day some small excavating began. I worked with a student profiling the land. Well really I held a measuring stick while she profiled the trench. I also tried to identify the color of dirt using a book called Munsell Soil Color Chart, not as easy as it sounds. Others were digging down to a certain level. A few small shards were found that day- some really cool things.
Throughout the day some Lookie Loos came and peeked in to see what was going on. They were encouraged to come in and take a closer look. I spoke to a few people about what was going on. I did defer to someone more knowledgeable than me when I couldn't answer questions. I asked one little girl what she thought we were looking for. Her response, "Dinosaurs!".
All in all it was an interesting day. I wish I could have more time at the dig. If you would like to learn more you can visit the Boston Archaeology website, follow them on facebook and on twitter.
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