The Alum Digging Up Chinatown’s Archaeological Treasures

(October 10, 2019)

City archaeologist Joe Bagley (CAS’06) leads digs that have unearthed ruins of colonial taverns and Native American spearheads on the Boston Common.

The Boston City Archaeology Lab was founded more than three decades ago with the purpose of preserving the city’s hundreds of archaeological sites. Today, the lab has a decidedly BU feel, with two full-time staffers, Bagley and lab manager Sarah Keklak (CAS’09, GRS’13). 

The collection is just one of several that Bagley and his team are now investigating. Earlier this year they received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that’s supporting their cataloging work on more than 200,000 artifacts, much of which had sat in storage for years. It’s an exciting and important development, Bagley says, as it allows “armchair archaeologists” and researchers from all over to browse the collections and hopefully contribute more clues and information.

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