Archaeology Field School

Hands-on Original Research & Learning

Excavation at Hatch Homestead 2015

Excavation at Elisha Hatch Homestead

Damariscotta River Association’s (DRA) 2017 Archaeology Field School returned to the Elisha Hatch Homestead site (1769-1803) located off River Road in Newcastle. The site marks the third and final leg of historical archaeologist Tim Dinsmore’s investigation into the 18th-century Barstow-Bryant shipbuilding complex, which began in 1980. Dinsmore directed field school participants in the partial excavation of the Hatch Homestead site with the aim of continuing to define the structural layout of the site.

Participants had the opportunity to excavate the area where the Hatch’s blacksmith shop was thought to be located, approximately 150 feet from the homestead site. Hatch eventually moved to Bristol and shipwright Nathaniel Bryant II is believed to have occupied the Hatch homestead from 1790-1803. Bryant launched at least a couple sailing vessels near the site (formerly his father’s shipyard) before relocating to Damariscotta Mills.

To help with site excavation at the Hatch Homestead is a rare opportunity for field school participants, who attain basic field methodology skills. The Hatch site is associated with the first years of the shipbuilding industry along the Damariscotta–an industry that flourished throughout much of the 19th century. The site has been virtually untouched since the 18th century and excavation will afford a detailed glimpse into the daily lives of 18th-century shipwrights and blacksmiths. Artifacts of both a domestic and industrial nature (blacksmith and shipbuilding) are anticipated.

Summer 2018 Programs will be announced in February.

Participants are required to register prior to attending the field school and a $100 deposit is required with your registration form.  It is recommended to register early, as this very popular program fills quickly.  The minimum age to attend is 14 and past field school sessions have included a mix of high school age students, college students (majoring in anthropology, history, American studies, material culture and museum studies, etc.) and retirees who have always wanted to participate in a professional archaeological dig.  Experience among participants in past years has ranged from first timers to seasoned excavators to up and coming archaeologists.

For additional information on the field school please contact DRA at (207) 563-1393.  Join the fun, help contribute to an important chapter in the maritime history of the Damariscotta River region, and learn the rigors and fundamental principles of archaeology in midcoast Maine!