Tuesday, July 8, 2008

oww, My AKIN house

I could not care one bit less about the "new" Indiana Jones & The Over-milked Franchise.
I do, however, care about cultural anthropology, archaeology, and the history of my town, so I'm interested in the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust's project at the Akin House.
Elihu Akin, you may remember, was a known Tory shipbuilder, and so they spared his house when they burned down everything else in the neighborhood. On the other hand, he was also a privateer who, along with his brother, captured many prizes in the early days of the Revolution, and so the British burned down Padanaram. Elihu may also have been a tavern owner who refused to serve a couple of British soldiers, and thus caused both New Bedford and Dartmouth to be burned to the ground in retaliation.
Or some combination of those. Or, there were several Elihu Akins.
Of course, I have an ancestor who won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Twice. And signed the Declaration of Independance. And fought alongside Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf. Same guy.
But nobody digs up his lawn every Summer.
I'm not sure if the Digs on Dartmouth Street will solve any of the mysteries, or if everybody will just get on board one story and stick with it once the Elihu Akin Cultural Heritage Center for Dartmouth is fully under way.
But I think it sounds like a swell way to spend a few weeks: Outdoors.
Here's most of the press release:

The Elihu Akin House, 762 Dartmouth Street
Dartmouth, Massachusetts

The Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust is recruiting volunteers for the second summer of the Akin House Archaeology Project. Join Dr. Christina Hodge, students from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and other volunteers from July 7th through August 6, 2008, at the 1762 Elihu Akin House located at 762 Dartmouth Street. We will be digging for the past in Dartmouth and expanding our knowledge of the families who lived in the house and used the land.

It's the perfect opportunity to work outside while learning local history and finding artifacts. Last summer 5,926 fragments of ceramic, glass, bone, brick, and other finds from the 18th through 21st centuries were uncovered, cleaned and catalogued. Help us to explore new areas of the site!

Volunteer training is scheduled for Friday, July 11, 2008 at the Akin House in two sessions, 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. and 1:00 - 2:00 P.M. Opportunities range from excavating test sites to sifting dirt to uncovering artifacts. As artifacts are uncovered, the dirt is carefully screened off. The fragments are dusted off with paintbrushes and other small tools, and / or washed gingerly, and then catalogued. There’s no telling what we will find. You can be there to witness the discovery of the treasures that will speak volumes about the site, revealing the generations who lived there, the culture of the times, and the socio-economic conditions through the ages.It’s not just educational, it’s FUN!

This is rare chance for volunteers to participate in real historical archaeology.Volunteers are needed for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from:00 – 4:00 P.M. and all day Thursdays (9 A.M. to noon and 1:00 - 4:00P.M.). To find out more about the project and to see slide shows on last summer's field session, please visit "http://akinhouse.blogspot.com/" The University is still
accepting students for Soc/Ant 180 Historical Archaeology of New England and Soc/Ant 407 Field Inquiry. For registration information, please contact the Division of Professional & Continuing education at htp:/www.umassd.edu/pce) or Dr. Christina Hodge at(c1hodge@umass.edu or christinaj.hodge@gmail.com)

The summer 2008 project at the Akin House is supported by the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Chancellor's Research Fund and Public Service Fund grant.

Christina J. Hodge received her PhD in historical archaeology in 2007 and MA in archaeological heritage management in 2000, both from the Department of Archaeology at Boston University. She is a Senior Curatorial Assistant at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, where she has worked since 1997. Dr. Hodge currently lectures in the Harvard Department of Anthropology, where she team-directs the Harvard Yard Archaeology Project; the Harvard Extension School Museum Studies Program;and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Division of Continuing Education, where she directs the Akin House Archaeology Project. Dr. Hodge's research areas include the colonial and postcolonial archaeology of New England, material culture studies, public archaeology, and the curation of museum collections.

For information on the volunteer open house and the Akin House Archaeology Project, please contact Diane M. Gilbert, President, the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust, (508) 993-1216, d.m.gilbert@ComCast.net or Peggi Medeiros, Clerk, (508) 992-9624, pmedeiros@ComCast.net.The Elihu Akin House is managed by the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust, which is overseeing the continuing stabilization of the house and establishment of the Elihu Akin Cultural Heritage Center. The Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a mission "to protect and preserve architecturally and historically significant structures and sites located in the town of Dartmouth, Massachusetts and surrounding communities, through the acquisition of such structures and sites, and easement interests therein,through providing financial and technical assistance in connection with the preservation and restoration of such structures and sites, and through education and advocacy."

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