2022 RI Archaeology Month Calendar

Rhode Island Archaeology Month 2022

Rhode Island Archaeology Month events run throughout October--Archtober--providing programs led by professionals about the state's archaeological heritage. All events are free and open to the public.

The calendar will be updated into October. For more information about Rhode Island Archaeology Month, contact Sarah Zurier. See also: press release.

Click the for event details.

Artifact Recovery Days
Little Compton Historical Society, 548 West Main Rd, Little Compton
Saturday 10/1 + Sunday 10/2 | 11am - 4pm

Since June, Little Compton Historical Society has uncovered more than 1000 artifacts from a 180 square foot construction trench. Now it’s your turn to help recover artifacts - like ceramic sherds and handmade nails - once used by the occupants of the ca. 1691 Wilbor House. Use archaeological tools to find, sort, and clean artifacts. Then compare the discoveries to previous finds to identify the artifacts and their role in the Wilbor household. 

Visitors are welcome to take a guided tour of Wilbor House. A special exhibit, Stories Houses Tell, features archaeological findings from the Wilbor House and two other sites in Little Compton. The permanent exhibits are Everyone Was a Farmer and Terra Nova, Vida Nova.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate. Those under 13 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Contact: programs@littlecompton.org to register.

North Burial Ground Presents: Annalisa Heppner
Live virtual program on MS Teams (see directions below link to program)
Thursday, October 6 | 6 - 7pm

North Burial Ground Director Annalisa Heppner will talk about the last year of work, programming, and archaeology. You’ll hear about some lessons learned, successes and failures, favorite projects and more. She’ll also reflect on what’s to come for Providence's NBG and talk about how archaeology is a part of the big dreams for North Burial Ground.

For link to program and RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/PVDNorthBurialGround/ or northburialground@providenceri.gov

Cemetery Archaeology Tour
North Burial Ground, 5 Branch Avenue, Providence
Saturday, October 15 | 12 - 1pm

Join North Burial Ground Director—and archaeologist—Annalisa Heppner for a tour of North Burial Ground focused on cemetery archaeology and what we can learn from cemeteries as archaeologists (without digging) Then, stay for a workshop and data collection day (see next event).

For more information and RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/PVDNorthBurialGround/ or northburialground@providenceri.gov

Data Workshop/Data Collection at North Burial Ground
North Burial Ground, 5 Branch Avenue, Providence
Saturday, October 15 | 1 - 4pm

Following the Cemetery Archaeology Tour, join North Burial Ground Director—and archaeologist—Annalisa Heppner for a workshop and data collection day documenting and assessing the condition of the oldest headstones in NBG. All you need is a cell phone or tablet with data and the ability to scan a QR code.

For more information and RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/PVDNorthBurialGround/ or northburialground@providenceri.gov

Revisiting the Archaeology of the Kelly House and Blackstone Canal
Captain Wilbur Kelly House, 1075 Lower River Road, Lincoln
Saturday, October 15 | 1pm

In 1992, archaeologists from Rhode Island College’s Public Archaeology Program conducted investigations around the Captain Wilbur Kelly House (ca. 1820) and along the Blackstone Canal in Ashton in preparation for the soon to be constructed bike path. Revisit the location with one of the archaeologists that was involved in the original investigations, National Park Service Ranger John McNiff, and see how the results of those investigations are being interpreted today along that bike path. Wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven or rough terrain. 

I Dig Slater Mill
Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark, 67 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket
Sunday, October 16 | 1 - 3pm

Experience Rhode Island Archaeology Month at Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. Learn about the archaeological digs that have taken place at Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark and see a model of the Wilkinson water wheel. Watch footage of archaeologists working on the site and conduct a search for small treasures.  

Naval Activities in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War
Wednesday, 10/19 | 5:30 - 7:30pm
in-person at Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope St
live virtual presentation

More than 200 vessels are known to have been lost in Rhode Island waters during the Revolutionary War. These include Royal Navy ships run ashore around Aquidneck Island and burned to avoid capture, British-owned transports, and victualers scuttled in Newport harbor to prevent the threatening French fleet from entering the harbor, and colonial craft destroyed by British and German auxiliaries during raids in Warren. In this talk, Dr. Kathy Abbass of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) will discuss the ships involved in the naval events of the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778 and give an update on RIMAP’s search for the HMS Gaspee.

RIMAP was created in 1992 to include members of the diving and non-diving public in a professionally organized and directed effort to study Rhode Island’s maritime history and marine archaeology. RIMAP is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with an interest in the maritime history and marine archaeology of Narragansett Bay, the Sounds, the state’s rivers and other inland waters, and how all of these connect Rhode Island to the wider world.

The event is sponsored by the Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society.


Project Highlights from Engaging the Americas at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Live virtual program on Zoom (registration required--use link below)
Wednesday, October 19 | 6 - 7pm

In 2018, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University received the Engaging the Americas grant from the Mellon Foundation “to support improving physical and intellectual stewardship” of the Museum’s “Native American and Indigenous collections and further their integration in the Brown curriculum.” Much of this ongoing work has focused on re-inventorying, cataloging, photographing, and rehousing the extensive lithic assemblages in our archaeological collection. In this presentation, Dr. Jessica Nelson, Curatorial Assistant on the Engaging the Americas grant, will share highlights of the project with an emphasis on the New England assemblages in our collection.

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/ycy5km6r

Archaeology of College Hill Community Archaeology Day
250 Lloyd Avenue, Providence*
Saturday, October 22 | 11am- 3pm

Take part in an active archaeological excavation! Brown University students will be digging on the grounds of Moses Brown School, uncovering the foundations of a 19th-century home and processing artifacts from that household. Stop by this family-friendly event to see the artifacts students are discovering. You may even try your hand at digging. This event is sponsored by Moses Brown School and Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.

*Location note: go to the corner of Hope Street and Lloyd Avenue, and we’ll direct you around the fence to the site.

Contact: joukowsky_institute@brown.edu or (401) 863-3188

Uncover Archaeology: Community Archaeology Day at the Joukowsky Institute
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Rhode Island Hall, Brown University, Providence (60 George Street)
Saturday, October 22 | 11am- 3pm

Visit the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World on Brown University's Main Green, see ancient coins from Greece and Rome up close. Examine Persian and Roman ceramics, animal bones, Nabatean sculptures carved in rose-red sandstone, prehistoric tools, precious metals, and other artifacts from thousands of years ago – and learn to draw them, coached by experts. And talk with Brown’s archaeologists about their fieldwork all over the world. 

Contact: joukowsky_institute@brown.edu or (401) 863-3188


Archaeological Excavations at Old Potterville School
316 Old Plainfield Pike, Scituate

This event has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Follow www.facebook.com/ScituatePreservation for more information.  

[Original description: Join Scituate Preservation Society and archaeologists from HDR and Gray & Pape, for a weekend of archaeological investigations at the Old Potterville School. Archaeologists will be excavating test pits and screening for artifacts. We welcome the people of all ages to attend, ask questions, hold pieces of history in their hands, and engage in local history. This program is intended to occur annually providing opportunities for Rhode Island residents to see archaeology in action.]

The Search for HMS Gaspee: History, Technology, Citizen Science, and Results
Warwick Public Library, 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick
Monday, October 24 | 6 - 7pm

In July the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) conducted a 15-day expedition to Gaspee Point in Warwick to determine the presence or absence of HMS Gaspee, burned there by Patriots in 1772 as a reprisal against British interference in local trade. For the 250th anniversary of that event, it was hoped to find the remains of a vessel sometimes called the "harbinger of the American Revolution." Speakers will discuss the historical materials that informed archaeological research, the remote sensing surveys to determine what cultural materials might be embedded in the spit, the findings of the dive team, how the shore-side research station shared the progress of the study with visitors, and finally, the planned land-side investigation that will continue after the first frost. Of special note will be the public involvement in this study.  

Contact: rhodeislandmap@yahoo.com

Archaeology of the Pierce Rum Distillery, Bristol
view online throughout October (https://tinyurl.com/4p32kvjz)

In 2007, an archaeological dig at the corner of State and Thames Streets uncovered wooden vats that were part of “The Distillery,” in operation ca. 1820-1825. These round and rectangular vats held a mixture of molasses and water that was fermented, pumped into large copper pots, heated, and distilled into finished rum. While some of the rum was transferred into casks or “hogsheads” for local consumption, most was shipped to Africa where it was traded for enslaved people. A rare find, the Pierce Distillery archaeological site reveals how rum was produced in massive quantities in order to feed the cycle of African enslavement.

In 2020, Bristol Historical & Preservation Society (BHPS) hosted a series of online conversations to explore local history. This presentation features Suzanne Cherau, Senior Archaeologist at The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL), in conversation with BHPS Executive Director Catherine Zipf. They discuss the excavation of the Pierce Distillery archaeology site and the history of rum distilling in Bristol and in New England.