Digging Veritas

Archaeology & History of the Indian College & Student Life at Colonial Harvard

Wine bottle from colonial Harvard Yard. Photo by Mark Craig. PM 992-9-10/100225.Visit the online exhibition

Through archaeological finds from Harvard Yard, historic maps, and more, the exhibition reveals how students lived at colonial Harvard and the role of the Indian College in Harvard’s early years.

Student archaeologists unearthed evidence of colonial Harvard as a landscape shaped by social and religious tensions, which affected everything from Native American and English settler relationships to the everyday routines of student life. As the students searched for meaning in the material remains of Harvard students of the past, three themes emerged: literacy and the Indian College; rule (breaking) and religion; and negotiations of social status. Who knew that small fragments buried below ground could reveal so much?

Update: Excavations continued after the exhibition was installed. The Fall 2009 dig uncovered traces of the Indian College. Find out more about the new discoveries.

Curated by  Danielle Charlap (Harvard College, Class of 2009), Rachel Sayet (Harvard Extension School, ALM Candidate), Nathaniel Amdur-Clark (Harvard College, Class of 2009), Caitlin Finch (Harvard College, Class of 2009), and Indira Phukan (Harvard College, Class of 2009), and the students of Anthropology 1130/1131: Archaeology of Harvard Yard (Fall 2005, 2007; Spring 2008).

Listen to the related lecture.

Download the Digging Veritas brochure. (Adobe Reader)

For more items excavated in Harvard Yard, click here.