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Mayor Walsh announces archaeological survey at Old North Church

June 20, 2016


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The dig will be led by the City of Boston's Archaeology Program, and City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley.

BOSTON - Monday, June 20, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today launched an archaeological survey that will begin within the Washington Garden at Boston's Old North Church. The dig will be led by the City of Boston's Archaeology Program and City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley. The survey is organized by the City of Boston, with the cooperation of the Old North Church Foundation. The survey is located at 193 Salem Street, and will run Monday, June 20 - Friday, July 1.

The two-week survey will explore the buildings' backyards and privies, or outhouses, which are often a hotbed for historical artifacts. Visitors are welcome at the dig site and will be able to observe work on the site from the nearby Washington Court. Live updates will be posted on the City of Boston Archaeology Program's FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate and explore the daily lives of the many immigrant peoples that lived in these apartments," said City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley. "Until the 1930s, the garden was the location of three brick apartment buildings built in the 1830s, so this survey will give us a glimpse into over a hundred years of Boston's history."

"Old North looks forward to working closely with City Archaeologist Joe Bagley as we plan for a major restoration of the church and campus in time for our 300th birthday in 2023," said Rev. Stephen Ayres, Executive Director and Vicar of Old North Church.

The Old North Foundation and the Beacon Hill Garden Club will reconfigure the garden into an outdoor classroom featuring 18th century plantings and a large glass-and-water feature etched with Longfellow's poem: "Paul Revere's Ride." Future work on the Longfellow Garden is supported by the Old North Church Foundation, the Beacon Hill Garden Club and the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund of the City of Boston.

Bagley and his team conducted an archaeological survey in 2013 behind the 1715 Clough House at 21 Unity Street, also owned by Old North Church. On this previous Old North Church survey, they found more than 40,000 artifacts dating back 300 years.

For more information

Contact the Mayor's Press Office at 617-635-4461.