Studying the archaeology of Harvard Yard is a collaborative project of the Harvard Anthropology Department and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Four buildings made up the 17th century Harvard campus. Two of these, the Old College and the Indian College, were near the present archaeological excavation.
The features and artifacts excavated this semester confirm the presence of a refuse zone, likely from the Old College building of 1638, the first college building in America, and long gone from the Yard. Among this semester’s finds are 17th century clay roof tiles, diamond-pane window glass, many handmade bricks, clay tobacco pipes, a lead musket ball, and a piece of flint for a firearm.
By learning more about the refuse of daily life, researchers and students can better understand the role of learning in early American colonization. With no maps or drawings existing for the Yard in the 17th century, archaeology contributes key information on the early life of students and their College.