About the Excavations

HYAP 2007. Unit H724. Profile E. 11/15/07
Unit H724 Profile

map with excavation markedFor archaeologists, context is everything. The spatial relationship among soil layers underground is called "stratigraphy." As we excavate we ask: Where did an artifact come from? How deep was it? In what kind of soil was it found? With what other objects was it found?

Explore the stratigraphy of excavation unit H724, located in Harvard Yard near what is today Matthews Hall, the presumed location of the Indian College in the seventeenth century. The hole measured 1 x 1 x 1.66 m deep.


Unit Profile

Scale: 10 cm = 1 cm.


• I (0-52 cm deep): 21st-century sod and topsoil; modern, disturbed fill; mixed period artifacts, including architectural materials from the construction of Matthews Hall in 1871

• II (52-60 cm deep): 19th- or 20th-century compact buried land surface; architectural debris/coal/clinker; perhaps the site of a temporary structure or outbuilding

• III (60-69.5 cm deep): 19th-century loose sandy fill; a result of landscaping/land management; nearly no artifacts

• IV (69.5-73.5 cm deep): late 18th/early 19th-century trashy accumulated yard surface; the small size of artifact fragments indicates trampling; a variety of ceramic sherds, pipe stems, and building materials

• V (73.5-91 cm deep): late 18th/early 19th-century trashy yard surface; different soil and noticeably more architectural debris than IV

• VI (91-101 cm deep): 18th-century trashy yard surface; different soil; earlier and larger ceramics than IV or V

• VII (101-127 cm deep): 17th-century rock-filled trench (drainage? construction?) and trash deposit; artifacts include architectural finds (roof tiles, soft brick, glass), unusual amounts of animal bone, and a piece of print type

• VIII (127-166 cm deep): 17th-century silty yellow soil under trench; building and other materials include glass, turned window lead, and charcoal

Soil profile measured by Kristen Blagg. Recorded by Sakura Christmas & Emily Pierce.