Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Taylor's Fort Archaeological Project - Charlemont
 
Taylor's Fort Archaeological Project

Archaeology
Education & Outreach

In the mid-1750s, during the Seven Years War, early Charlemont settlers Othniel and Jonathan Taylor moved their houses and enclosed them with a wooden palisade, creating what is now called Taylorís Fort. During the summer of 2006, archaeologist Aaron Miller, having researched the site for over five years, undertook test excavations to confirm the location of both houses and to find out more about the 18th-century settlement.

Miller excavated portions of the two mid-18th-century houses, a third later house, and postholes from fences and other structures. He also discovered evidence of Native American occupation of the site. It is particularly notable that Mr. Millerís excavations at the site were limited to documenting the presence of the site, allowing most of the site to be preserved in place for future scholars.

Mr. Miller encouraged community involvement in the project. The site was frequently open to the public, and Mr. Miller gave tours throughout the excavation. He ran a field school for local high school students, and students from Hawlemont Regional Elementary School and the Tyler Memorial Library participated in a week-long archaeology camp. Mr. Miller gave several lectures about the site, hosted an open house as part of Massachusetts Archaeology Month, and developed a website for the project that made the history of Taylorís Fort and the excavations available to an even wider audience.

Mr. Millerís research and outreach program provided a rare glimpse into the lives of the early settlers of this frontier town, while promoting a better understanding of the history of the area and of the important contributions archaeology can make to our knowledge of history and prehistory.

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