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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
Twitter: @NHCulture

Some of N.H.’s most interesting history is right under our feet

Have you ever been walking in the woods and come across what seems like a former home site, and then wondered about the lives of the people who lived there? Or been digging in your garden and come across a piece of broken plate or a button or even a long-forgotten tool? What do you do with what you’ve found? How can you find out more, but be sure to do so in the best way possible?

Now’s your chance to learn more about what cellar holes—remnants of the homes of former residents—can tell us about the generations of New Hampshire residents who came before us. A Cellar Hole Forum will take place at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, N.H. on Saturday, October 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no fee to participate.

Co-sponsored by the Harris Center, the Historical Society of Cheshire County and the N.H. Division of Historical Resources, the Cellar Hole Forum has several goals: to raise awareness of cellar holes as historic resources; to advance the notion of “study, not plunder” cellar holes and to show why they are a valuable educational resource; and to generate interest in research projects, including inventories and ongoing networking.

“Cellar holes are a reminder of the families who worked, farmed, thrived and struggled here before us,” said Tanya Kress, records coordinator for the N.H. Division of Historical Resources. “We can learn so much about their lives by investigating cellar holes, but the research must be done carefully and respectfully so that everything possible is learned.”

Kress will be one of several speakers at the Forum; her topic will be encouraging research, protecting cellar holes and responding to landowner concerns. Other speakers and topics include Alan Rumrill, director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County; Dave Birchenough and Rich Church, who will discuss researching roads and cellar holes in Nelson; and Eric Aldrich, who will speak about his research on settlement and abandonment patterns of a hill-country farming community and an African-American family who lived there. Several historians from Lyme will also present information about their work inventorying Lyme’s cellar holes.

The Forum will be followed by a brown-bag lunch (bring your own) and a short hike to a nearby cellar hole community in Hancock to demonstrate a simple survey protocol and hear about a family who lived there.

For more information about the Cellar Hole Forum, contact Tanya Kress at

For directions to the Harris Center, visit

New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit or call 603-271-3483.




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