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SCRAP Field School 2009: Oyster River Environs Archaeology Project
Oyster River Field School A four week archaeological field school will be conducted at the site of the Field-Bickford Garrison, located on Durham Point at the mouth of the Oyster River on Little Bay in Durham, NH. The field school will be conducted under the auspices of the NH State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP) in cooperation with the firm of Crane and Morrison, a Cultural Resources Management firm based in Freeport, Maine. Craig J. Brown will supervise the investigations in coordination with Dr. Richard Boisvert, NH State Archaeologist. The field school is open to the public and has the dual goals of investigating a highly significant early historic site while engaging members of the public in professional quality archaeology.

The Field-Bickford Garrison was initially built prior to 1638 as a pioneer homestead, ordinary (tavern) and ferry landing. It served as a key point of entry to the Oyster River Plantation, one of the first English settlements in New Hampshire. The site was one of the fortified structures attacked in the famous Oyster River Plantation Massacre of 1694 and survived a determined assault by an Abenaki force through the brave and clever actions of Thomas Bickford. The structure however has a far wider history, having been the property of Darby Field, famous as the first European to have summited Mt. Washington, and as a major economic nexus for the emerging colony. A preliminary inspection of the site has identified the probable house cellar and artifacts on the adjacent shore that date to the period in question.

The specific research objective for the 2009 field school is to continue work on the Bickford Garrison, define the limits of the structure, identify associated outbuildings and related ferry facilities, and establish a baseline of information for a broader investigation of this and related Oyster River Plantation sites. The field investigations will incorporate standard archaeological field excavation techniques, working with a rigorously defined grid system and employing ground penetrating radar and other remote sensing equipment. This investigation will specifically lay the groundwork for longer range research over the coming years.

The full cooperation of the property owners, Barbara and Helen Langley has been secured. The property also has a conservation easement held by The Nature Conservancy, whose cooperation and support has also been assured.

The ultimate goal is to bring to light an immensely important and complex, though poorly understood, era of New Hampshire’s early colonial history. Previous research and publication by Craig J. Brown has gone far to clarify the circumstances of this site and its associated history, however only a small portion of the historic potential has been revealed. The archaeological investigations will add considerable empirical data to the historic record.

Oyster River Field School

VOLUNTEER PARTICIPATION: Individuals may participate as SCRAP Volunteers. There is no fee for participation as a volunteer, however we request a $35 donation to defray costs of supplies and instructional materials. Successful completion of the fieldwork will earn SCRAP certification for Excavation or Survey Technician. Minimum age is 16. The Field-Bickford site is located in the heart of the New Hampshire seacoast. Information on area attractions and accommodations available upon request or at the Project website: www.oreap.org.

For additional information, please call 207-337-8144

REGISTRATION: Volunteers must complete the registration form and send it with a brief statement indicating why they wish to join the field school to:

Mail Email Fax
Craig J. Brown (OREAP)
2009 SCRAP Field School Oyster River
PO Box 598
Moody. ME 04054-0598
craigb@oreap.org 603-271-3433

Flyer and registration form is available for download by clicking on the following link:

SCRAP Field School 2009: Oyster River Environs Archaeology Project

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