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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Colonial Tavern Site Uncovered in North Carolina

Monday, June 17, 2019

Brunswick Town TavernGREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA—According to a report in The Charlotte Observer, researchers led by Charles Ewen of East Carolina University were investigating the colonial-era port of Brunswick Town when they discovered a cache of artifacts under the floorboards of a tavern that is thought to have burned down in the 1760s. The building’s walls collapsed over the floors, Ewen explained, preserving pipes that had never been smoked, liquor bottles, and unidentified iron tools. Other artifacts recovered at the site include the brass tap from a wine barrel, broken mugs and goblets, an Irish half-penny dated to 1766, thimbles, straight pins, and women’s clothing fasteners. “Taverns really were one of the most important structures in a colonial town,” said Jim McKee, the site manager of Brunswick Town/Ft. Anderson State Historic Site. “You would have a group of men talking business transactions, a group of people talking law, a group of people talking gossip and, of course, leisure. You might even have had an escort service being run out of them.” The building, which measured about 25 feet long and 15 feet wide, was not recorded on any known maps of Brunswick Town. The entire town was razed by British troops in 1776 and never rebuilt. McKee said the presence of the tavern at the site suggests other buildings may have been left off known historic maps. To read more about historical archaeology in North Carolina, go to "Cotton Mill, Prison, Main Street." 

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