Aptucxet Archaeology

Archaeology at Aptucxet Trading Post

In 1995, students from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, School of Archaeology, under the direction of their professor, Dr. Barbara Luedtke, dug deep to find clues to past inhabitants of the Aptucxet Trading Post.

Holes dug by the students surrounded the outside of the trading post, one contained a wooden post covered plastic bag. The 14 students found bits of turtle shells, pig bones, bird bones, pottery, fish, cow and duck bones and pieces of clay pipes. All the trash left behind from the former residents is thought to have been from the 17th century, as it is know that Ezra Perry lived on this tract of land.

“We don’t have much information from this era, but we believe what we have found to be from 1650 to 1770, a very tight span of time”, Dr. Luedtke said.

“Also, Craig Shartier, who did the archaeology of the Cape Cod Canal earlier, asked if he could do the archaeology of the trading post for his thesis, and we thought it would make a great class”, Dr. Luedtke continued.

They chose to dig the holes right around the Trade house through a process of elimination. “We surveyed and dug holes every 10 meters all over this property, and found that most of the material lies right around the Trade house”, Dr. Luedtke said.

The students dug for just six weeks, perhaps leaving behind articles to be found at a future date. They car-pooled each day and dug from 8:00am to 3:00pm on Mondays through Fridays.

The students dug one quarter of each square at about five inches at a time and then sifted the dirt to find the artifacts. “For each hour of field work, it is said that there is three hours of lab time”, Dr. Luedtke said.

All the findings were taken to the lab at U-Mass and then were returned to the Bourne Historical Society, Inc. Some of the artifacts are on display in the Museum room at Aptucxet.