For Immediate Release

Lecture: The Ground Remembers: Archaeology of Harvard's Founding

Cambridge, September 20, 2011 -  Underground, Harvard curates a buried archive of its own history in artifacts, building remains, and landscape traces. This year, the 375th anniversary of Harvard College's founding, inspires us to reflect on how we remember Harvard, and what those memories mean to us today and into the future. 

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents the free lecture, "The Ground Remembers: Archaeology of Harvard’s Founding,"  on Thursday, October 20 at 5:30 P.M. at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge). The lecture will be followed by a public reception at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Ave.).

The 375th anniversary will be marked by a variety of offerings to engage the university’s vast and varied community. This tradition of punctuated commemoration has been part of the Harvard experience since at least the bicentennial gala of 1836. That fall, the “new” College seal was unfurled on a banner: it reintroduced the once-forgotten veritas shield, designed in 1643, to over 300 gathered alumni and created a durable university symbol. Every formal moment of remembrance is an opportunity through which the institution recreates itself and redefines its importance.

There are many ways we remember Harvard: some official, some unofficial; some shared, some intensely private; some widely known, some preserved within particular communities; some written, many more maintained through oral stories and anecdotes. Material culture―physical things and places―is another essential source of memory.

The Harvard Yard Archaeology Project allows us to access this material archive and has become an important source of memories about Harvard’s beginnings. Excavated printing type and foundation stones join the veritas shield in representing the myriad legacies of Harvard’s early days and the diverse individuals who made up its early community. How do such artifacts manifest Harvard and its founding? How do they challenge established stories and provide new answers? Through recovery and interpretation, material residues of the past can become part of living memory.

The speaker is Christina Hodge, a co-instructor of the Harvard course, Archaeology of Harvard Yard, and a senior curatorial assistant at the Peabody Museum.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397


"A Prospect of the Colledges in Cambridge in New England." Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

"The Ground Remembers: Archaeology of Harvard’s Founding" is Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

A public reception follows at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

Public information: 617-496-1027.

Related exhibition Digging Veritas: The Archaeology and History of the Indian College and Student Life at Colonial Harvard.

Related open house: 10/22 Harvard Yard Archaeology Project Excavation

Related excavation wrap-up: 10/27 Results Day

Harvard Yard Archaeology Project

Related events: Harvard 375th Anniversary