Official websites use

A website belongs to an official government organization in the City of Boston.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

City Archaeology Program Completes Three Months of Digs

The City Archaeology Program has just wrapped up three months of fieldwork and will now begin processing artifacts and analyzing data collected from the digs.

The first excavation at 42-44 Shirley Street in Roxbury sought to find remnants of the original location of the Landmark-designated Shirley-Eustis House as well as evidence of activities carried out by the enslaved individuals and others living and working on the property. Archaeologists and volunteers located what appears to be the original 18th-century basement floor for the Shirley-Eustis House in its original location.

Photo of five women archaeologist working on a lawn. Three are standing at wood devices used to sift dirt on top of piles of dirt. Two are working at a long linear trench cut into the ground. There are buckets of dirt, shovels, and small piles of rock surrounding their work area.

The Program’s second dig took place in the South End Landmarks District at the headquarters of the League of Women for Community Service, a Black women’s civic organization that has occupied the house at 558 Massachusetts Ave. since 1922. The team uncovered evidence of the mid-19th century cistern and drainage system that would have fed into the plumbing for the mansion, which was built with four water closets and two shower rooms in 1858 even before most of the wealthiest Bostonians had indoor plumbing. 

The third and final dig of the season conducted by the City’s Archaeology team and volunteers took place at the Landmark-designated Loring Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. The team uncovered both a 17th/18th century living surface and evidence of Native Masssachusett use prior to the arrival of Europeans to the area. 

Special thanks are due to everyone who helped including Mike Bavis, the Shirley-Eustis House Association, the League of Women for Community Service, the Loring Greenough House, and the fantastic volunteers who worked tirelessly in all kinds of weather to make it all happen!

Photo of the rear of a large house with a portion of the building extending out from the house towards the viewer forming a corner-shaped yard behind the house. In the hard are two square excavation holes. One is too dark to see into and the other has a woman working inside it. She is crouched down into the hole so only her back and head are visible. On the yard surface is scattered leaves, buckets of dirt, and potted plants. A woman is walking across the yard smiling at the photographer. There is a large t
City Archaeology Program staff and visitors at the Loring Greenough House site.

Follow the City Archaeology Program on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the handle @bostonarchaeo and sign up for the Archaeology Update newsletter.

  • Last updated:
  • Last updated:
Back to top