News from the Office of State Archaeology

Tad Emerson Baker
Tad Emerson Baker

ASC Newsletter, Summer 2017

I just enjoyed a terrific visit from Dr. Emerson “Tad” Baker who came down from Salem State University to present a paper at the most recent Friends of the Office of State Archaeology annual lecture.  Tad is an expert on 17th century New England material culture and architecture, so it was a treat to have him up at the UConn archaeology lab to look over artifacts found last summer at the Lt. John Hollister site.  We both agreed that there is a lot to learn about this period in New England both north and south of the Puritan-dominated Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies.  Both southern Maine and Connecticut appear to be producing sites established by sometimes wealthy landholders with close ties to the English West Country, the area encompassing modern Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, and Gloucestershire in southwestern England.  It appears that many individuals arriving in the New England colonies in the 1630s and 1640s from this region brought their own building traditions and dreams of establishing wealthy estates.  The longhouse and cross-passage style houses now being identified here in Connecticut and Maine have direct ties to West Country building traditions and are quite different from the better documented Hall and Parlor type houses we are more familiar with.

This summer’s schedule is being hammered out as I write this, but a few dates are worth noting now.  First, the one-week Archaeology Field School for Educators will run Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14, 9 am to 3 pm. The field school is sponsored by the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn and Office of State Archaeology. This field school is designed to give educators who teach history or social science in a classroom or museum setting a deeper appreciation of the importance of archaeology as a tool for learning about Connecticut’s fascinating past.  Participants will experience an authentic and significant archaeological investigation, working with primary sources at a historic site in Windsor.  If all goes as planned, we will be examining the 17th century history of the Oliver Ellsworth lot.  Participants will also learn about the role of the Connecticut Office of State Archaeology and how it can be an important resource in developing archeological lessons and activities for students.  Space is limited. To request a registration form please contact David Colberg at or 860.486.5690.

Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn and Office of State Archaeology will conduct its Adult Field School for the general public Monday, July 31st through Friday, August 4th.  The current plan is to revisit the 17th century Lt. John Hollister site in South Glastonbury.  Our primary goal this summer will be to expose evidence relating to the architectural layout of the site.  Further information should be available soon at the CSMNH calendar page:  Space will be limited.  To register please contact David Colberg at or 860.486.5690.

Finally, members of the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology will be able to continue work at the Hollister Site from August 7th-11th. If you are not yet a FOSA member, go to for more information.