Celebrating the history and archaeology of Brown University and Providence, Rhode Island

Month: September 2015

Excavations: Weeks 1 and 2

We are two full weeks into our dig season now, and the project is off to a great start. We have been getting oriented at our new site, and everyone is getting used to our process for excavation and documentation.

Day 1_1

Emma and Julia getting started on Trench 2

Day 1_3

(L to R) Maggie, Axel, Ned, Lucas, and Char all finishing our sifting at the end of the day









Our students have opened up two trenches, and we have placed them where we hope we will run into the buried foundation of the house that was once on the property. We’re currently moving through top soil, and this past week, we came down on our first (very dramatic!) soil change in Trench 1. What exactly this might mean is still up for debate, and we’re excited to get back to work on Monday!

Day 2_2

Week 2: Maggie, Char, and Julia finishing a pass through Trench 2


Day 2_1

Week 2: Ned and Axel showing off their finds at the sieve

Day 2_4

Week 2: Emma and Lucas coming down on our major soil change in Trench 1

MB2 Context 1 Close Candid

Week 2: Char, Julia, and Maggie celebrate the closing of our first context in Trench 2


We’ll also be continuing our research into the history of the house we’re investigating, including the history of the family that lived here.  We’ve been discovering a great deal about the family of A. Albert and Alice Sack, who built the house in 1884 and lived there until their respective deaths in 1925 and 1933. Their son took over living in the home in 1933, and the property was sold to the Moses brown School in 1939 before the house was demolished in 1940. The whole class will be working on this research together throughout the semester, and we’ll be posting our findings here, along with some of our student projects that look at the history of buildings in Providence. Check back for the results of our research, and our students’ thoughts on their excavation experiences!

The Archaeology of College Hill is Back!

Classes are finally off and running here at Brown, and we are excited to have a great new group of students enrolled in the Archaeology of College Hill. This year, we are moving our excavations from Brown’s campus to the campus of our neighbors at the Moses Brown School. We have picked out an area for our trenches, and will be putting our trowels in the dirt for the first time on Monday.

This year’s class will be investigating what was once a separate property at the corner of Hope St. and Lloyd Ave. (next to the Moses Brown sign), where a house owned by the Sacks family stood from approx. 1884-1939. We have been doing some preliminary research at the Rhode Island Historical Society, where we’ve come across some wonderful maps like the one below, which comes out of the New Topographical Atlas of Surveys, Providence County, Rhode Island (1895).

A close-up of the Sacks Property at the corner of Hope St. and Lloyd Ave, with the Moses Brown School property to the northeast

A close-up of the Sacks Property at the corner of Hope St. and Lloyd Ave, with the Moses Brown School property to the northeast

Check back throughout the semester to hear from our students, and follow our progress as we discover more about the Sacks family, the Moses Brown School, and Providence at the turn of the 20th century! You can also follow us on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Archaeology-of-College-Hill-177595895764616/