Little Compton Historical Society needs help digging

Society members searching for remnants in excavated trench at Wilbor House

By Ted Hayes
Posted 9/28/22

Since June, Little Compton Historical Society workers have uncovered more than 1,000 artifacts from a 180-square foot construction trench at the Wilbor House, the society's headquarters on …

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Little Compton Historical Society needs help digging

Society members searching for remnants in excavated trench at Wilbor House

Posted

Since June, Little Compton Historical Society workers have uncovered more than 1,000 artifacts from a 180-square foot construction trench at the Wilbor House, the society's headquarters on West Main Road. Now it’s your turn to help recover artifacts — from ceramic sherds to handmade nails and other artifacts once used by the occupants of the ca. 1691 structure.

October is Rhode Island Archaeology Month, and on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2, volunteers are invited to help. Using archaeological tools to find, sort and clean artifacts, volunteers and staff will compare the discoveries to previous finds in hopes of not only identifying them, but also determining what role they played in the Wilbor household centuries ago. The event runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and you can register to help by sending an e-mail to programs@littlecompton.org.

Marjory O'Toole, the society's executive director, said there is still much work to be done, and the finds so far have shed a great deal of light on life in the early days of the Wilbor house.

"It's a big job and we are still working on it but we have recovered thousands of artifacts," she said. "Lots of nails, bits of bottle and window glass, lots of pot sherds, an iron key, an iron hinge, a marble, and a tobacco tamper to tap down tobacco in a pipe. It's been fascinating and tells us a great deal about the types of ceramics the Wilbors had in their home."

Besides helping out with artifact recovery this weekend, visitors are welcome to take a guided tour of Wilbor House, which will host a special exhibit, "Stories Houses Tell" featuring archaeological findings from the Wilbor House and two other sites in Little Compton. Permanent exhibits include "Everyone Was a Farmer" and "Terra Nova, Vida Nova."

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate. Those under 13 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

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