Friday, April 16, 2010

Old Berwick Historical Society to Present Archaeological Heritage of the Isles of Shoals

Isles of Shoals Marine Laboratory archaeologist Nathan Hamilton will present a report on his recent excavations of a fishing station on Smuttynose Island.
Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, the lecture will be held Thursday evening, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Berwick Academy’s Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street. Admission is free, and volunteers will serve refreshments.
The Shoals Marine Laboratory, in conjunction with the Smuttynose Island Stewards Program, has supported two archaeological field seasons on the island, eight miles from the Maine and New Hampshire coasts. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, excavations identified a large prehistoric Native American site and a 17th century European fishing station. Hamilton’s project has focused on recovery and analysis of marine and coastal animal remains.
The Haley family also left its mark on the archaeological record of Smuttynose between 1770 and the 1840s. Finds from the mid-1800s are associated with the hotel activities of the Mid-Ocean House, operated on the island by the family of poet Celia Thaxter.
Hamilton is associate professor in the geography-anthropology department of the University of Southern Maine. While at the University of Pittsburgh he completed his Ph.D. in anthropology on prehistoric maritime adaptation in western Maine. His research interests include evolution of the Gulf of Maine’s coastal environments, faunal analysis and prehistoric diet. He also studies ethnicity through textiles and basketry production among communities in the Virgin Islands as well as Quechua speaking peoples of the Peruvian Andes.
This event is part of the Old Berwick Historical Society’s 2010 series of talks, walks and historical events. The series is supported by members, including Kennebunk Savings Bank, the major sponsor. Programs include seven monthly evening presentations as well as other local history events around South Berwick, including the society’s Counting House Museum.
More information on all the Old Berwick Historical Society’s programs is available at, or by calling (207) 384-0000.
Photo caption: Archaeologist Nathan Hamilton at his dig site at Smuttynose Island in 2009, when he explored marine and coastal animal remains dating back to prehistoric times. (Courtesy photo)