TBF_PA

 
108 Bray Farm Road N.
Yarmouth Port, MA

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Craig Chartier on Why Dig for Archaeological Artifacts
"We do archaeology because it's a way of literally touching the past."

Taylor-Bray Farm Archaeology Project

"Taylor-Bray Farm is unique ..I can't think of another site like this. We will be able to compare the material found here with other local and regional sites to better understand many aspects of prehistoric and early historic life...the farm also has great potential to educate people about the importance of archaeology and the need to preserve & protect sites like this."...Craig Chartier, project archaeologist.

The farm project, now in its eighth year, has documented thousands of years of human habitation at the farm. Preserving and interpreting the farm's archaeological resources enhances our understanding of the historic and pre-historic activities of the people who have called the place home over the past 10,000 years.

Native American artifacts found at the site indicate a seasonal use of the property dating as far back as the Late Paleo era. Moreover the farm is a significant Plymouth Colony site, which has yielded thousands of artifacts from that time through the 20th century. (To learn some details about the project, please see Archaeology and History at the Taylor-Bray Farm, Yarmouth Port, MA).

Archaeology work began informally in 2009 when Association volunteers removing modern modifications to the late 18th century farmhouse began to discover artifacts beneath the floorboards. Not only did the initial rehab work reveal its structure but also gave significant hints about Richard Taylor's 17th century house. This work has since grown into an organized, multi-year effort to preserve and learn about the past.

  • Since that informal beginning our archaeologist, Craig Chartier, has led meticulous digs that produced breakthrough discoveries of the original Taylor family settlement as well as confirmed ancient Native American activities.
  • Our findings include the location of the original 17th century Richard Taylor home site and a subsequent, probably 18th century, addition (see site plan on the left). We also partially excavated a large cellar hole associated with the house that produced many 17th & 18th century artifacts that help us understand the life of the Taylor family. That original house is long gone but we believe lumber from the building was recycled to construct the half Cape at the farm today.
  • On the prehistoric front we have established a time line that shows Native Americans occupied parts of the farm on a seasonal basis as long as 10,000 years ago. Our discoveries include two cache pits probably used to store dried corn or nuts, cooking fire locations and sites for seasonal housing called wetus. Artifact discoveries include projectile points, stone tools, tool making debris and pottery fragments. These objects help us appreciate what Native people were doing here on a day-to-day basis when it came to farming, fishing, trading and collecting food.

Our findings contribute to educational outreach activities that spread the word about this exceptional historic property. In the past we have created exhibits of farm artifacts and sponsored public presentations on the farm archaeology project at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster and various area libraries. And now that the renovated farmhouse is once again open to visitors, we have a permanent place to display artifacts from the farm's past.

Community involvement is a key

We are grateful for the generous Community Preservation grants awarded by the Town of Yarmouth. These grants have allowed us to hire a professional archaeologist to carefully plan field investigations and produce thorough follow-up analytic reports. In 2013, the town Community Preservation Committee named the Association archaeology program as its "project of the year."

We are also indebted to the volunteers who over the years have donated several thousand hours of their time to our successful fieldwork effort.

Join the Archaeology Team

Volunteers are always welcome. The farm dig is a singular opportunity to participate in a hands-on local history project. Previous experience is helpful but not necessary, as we will train new volunteers.

If you are interested in helping with future fieldwork, please contact Jack Duggan or call 508-385-8631 for more information.