Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel
Brinckerhoff, the Massachusetts Highway Department, and the Federal
This project is the largest
transportation undertaking in Bostons history. The project
was designed to enlarge the existing artery and depress it beneath
the surface of downtown Boston. JMA conducted data recovery excavations
at several sites in the citys busy waterfront area to be affected
by the project.
The Paddys Alley Site consisted of the rear yards of several
properties that once fronted along Ann Street. Originally belonging
to a large estate, the site area was divided as lots and sold by
1650. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the properties
were occupied by merchants and artisans, including John Carnes,
a pewterer. Excavations at the site recovered bottle seals with
Carness name as well as the foundation of his storage and
workshop building. A single coral bead was also recovered from the
same deposits, perhaps signifying Carness historically documented
involvement in the Caribbean slave trade.
At the nearby Cross Street Backlot Site, more evidence of the African-Caribbean
presence in Boston was recovered from a late feature, i.e., an earthenware
vessel was found in a privy dating to about 1810. The vessel is
similar to pieces from Haiti, and an influx of French-Haitian people
to Boston is documented in the wake of the 1804 revolt that freed
the enslaved Africans of that island nation.
An earlier feature was a large brick-lined privy pit cut deep into
the water-saturated clay subsoil. Late-seventeenth-century artifacts
included organic items such as bones, wooden artifacts, shoe fragments,
seeds, twigs, leaves, and insects. The materials from this feature
have provided the best picture to date of diet and environment in
Excavations at the Mill Pond Site, located in the North End of Colonial
Boston, exposed a wharf dated ca. 1790, which may have served as
a landing for fodder or other goods. Pollen analysis, historic records,
and artifacts (horseshoes and spurs) established the existence of
a stable on the made land from 1710 into the late 1800s.
Data recovery investigations were also undertaken at a prehistoric
shell midden site on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor. A Middle-Late
Woodland occupation was radiocarbon-dated to between AD 535-1590.
The principal activities at the site were harvesting and processing
of soft-shell clams and cod fishing during the fall and early winter.
Artifacts included projectile points, ceramic sherds, and harpoon
points. The Spectacle Island site is interpreted as a special-function
campsite, and appears to be culturally related to Woodland communities
located in the Neponset River estuary on the mainland.