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

Author: Andy Dufton (Page 1 of 2)

‘Searching for the President’s House’ Exhibit

We’ve been out of the trenches and into the lab for about a month now, having traded our trowels and shovels for toothbrushes and B72 adhesive.

As we wrap things up for the semester we are pleased to share our research in a new exhibit currently being installed in Rhode Island Hall, entitled “Searching for the President’s House.” It includes a number of finds from the past three years of excavation conducted on the Quiet Green, historical information on the first President’s House, and materials tracing how the use of the Quiet Green has changed over the course of Brown’s history.

Please join us this Monday, December 8th at 3pm in the basement of Rhode Island Hall for the unveiling of the exhibit to gain a more in-depth glimpse into Brown’s unique material history!

Everybody digs!

Autumn is upon us, and we’ll be continuing a yearly tradition of College Hill excavations over Brown’s Family Weekend. Excavations this year will run on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-2pm, at our Quiet Green trenches. We’re surrounded by a conspicuous fence, so you can’t miss us! This is a great chance for members of the public to come out and see what we’ve been up to, pick up a trowel, or help with sifting for artefacts.

All the details about Archaeology Day and Family Weekend events at the Joukowsky Institute are on the AIA Naragansett blog. You can also read more about our Archaeology Day excavations last year in the Site Diary.

Makana Tavares ’17: Sayles Memorial Hall

Some Brown students may know it as the site of the annual Midnight Halloween Organ Concert, others may recognize it as the home of the Concentration Fair, and yet still others may identify it as the building in which, this past spring, Emma Watson received her degree. The building in question is of course, Sayles Hall. A mainstay on campus since 1881, Sayles stands in stately fashion on the eastern perimeter of the Main Green, directly across from University Hall and abutted by Salomon and Wilson halls on the north and south, respectively.

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Week 2 – Excavations


This week we continued our excavation of the topsoil of trenches QG5 and QG6. It was a beautiful day, and we worked productively.

Before doing anything else, we cleared out mounds of sod that were still by the trenches. This was in preparation for Brown’s 250th anniversary celebration events on the Quiet Green.

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A new monument to Brown’s history on the Quiet Green

As part of Brown’s 250th celebrations, a new memorial to recognize the university’s connection to (and benefits from) the transatlantic slave trade will be dedicated this Saturday, September 27th. The memorial’s location on the Quiet Green – only a few yards from the house of the first president and our excavations – serves as a reminder of the ways in which the history of the university still carries weight in our daily lives. Although one of our primary research questions involves the search for remains of the first President’s House, we’re also interested in questions of all people impacting or impacted by the spaces of the Quiet Green. This new monument, and the 250th celebrations as a whole, inspire our team to dig deeper (figuratively, and literally) into the material remains of Brown’s past. You may notice our regular fencing has been removed for the weekend, to make way for preparations for the 250th celebrations and monument dedication. Fear not! You can still stop by and check out our early progress behind the yellow safety ropes.

For more information about the events of this weekend, check out the Fall Celebration Schedule.

Excavations are underway!

We’ve already started excavations for the 2014 field season on the Quiet Green. After shooting in our new trenches last week, the fences are up and we started digging on Monday afternoon. Our 2014 students were enjoying the sunny September weather, and made a good start clearing the turf and topsoil. Early finds include lost pennies and lost dorm keys – perhaps if we return them now, we can get the $30 replacement fee back for some poor student?

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Excavations 2014 are coming!

The College Hill team is excited to get started with excavations for the Fall 2014 term. We’ll be digging again on the Quiet Green this year, exposing more of a path uncovered in 2013 and hoping to find further traces of the house of the first presidents of Brown University. Last year our excavations recovered Staffordshire slipware pottery embedded in this path, dating to the mid-18th century and possibly associated with the Presidents House.

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Week 6 – Excavations

 Today was our last day excavating, and it was difficult to motivate ourselves considering it was so cold and, thanks to the Daylight Savings Time shift, sunset had been moved to the middle of our class time. Our phones told us it was only forty degrees Fahrenheit when we started the afternoon, and by the time we left it was probably at freezing—everyone was ready to call it a day. Continue reading

Catherine Teitz ’14: Classical Statues of Brown University

Two classical statues – often misidentified, confused, and abused – have watched over campus life since they were dedicated more than 100 years ago. Marcus Aurelius and Caesar Augustus guard their greens, providing a block for studying students to lean against and an elevated platform to advertise everything from events to holidays. These statues, modeled on Roman originals, were gifts of Moses Brown Ives Goddard, class of 1854. Continue reading

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