Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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18th-Century Garbage Pit Unearthed in Boston

Monday, August 05, 2013

1010905 395232500586282 481591895 nBOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS—An excavation of the backyard at the Clough House in Boston’s North End has revealed garbage from the eighteenth century. The two-story house was built by mason Ebenezer Clough in 1715. He also helped construct the nearby Old North Church, which opened in 1723. One hundred years later, another story had been added to the house, which was broken up into apartments and rented, as the neighborhood became less affluent. But the backyard remained intact. City archaeologist Joseph Bagley and a crew of volunteers unearthed animal bones, doll parts, and bits of dishes. “This whole backyard was a trash dump. And back in the day, I think the backyard would have been just disgusting,” he said.