Old Fields Archaeological Field School

This listing expired on July 20, 2013. Please contact ndppquid@yahoo.com for any updated information.

1650s scene in interior of Dutch tavern
late 17th/early 18th century German stoneware tankardclay tobacco pipes, mid-18th century/top, 1670s or 1680s/bottom
smoker's companion, 17th century?1689 Spanish reale/cobb coin

Location: South Berwick, Maine, United States

Season Dates: June 17, 2013 - July 26, 2013
Session Dates: See project description above or PDF brochure for field school schedule..
Application Deadline: June 15, 2013

Website: http://www.oldberwick.org


Program Type
Field school

Affiliation: Old Berwick Historical Society

Project Director: Dr. Neill De Paoli

Project Description


Join Dr. Neill De Paoli as he directs excavations in South Berwick, a picturesque town situated in southern Maine on the Salmon Falls River. South Berwick was settled in the early 1630s when a small band of English merchant adventurers established a trading post on the Salmon Falls River and a saw mill on the nearby Great Works River. Over the decades that followed, the town of Berwick emerged from these modest beginnings.

The focus of the South Berwick dig is the former dwelling, tavern, and garrison house of Humphrey and Mary Spencer who occupied it from c. 1696 until 1727. In 1691, Wabanaki war parties attacked the Spencer garrison, then the home of Spencer’s uncle, but were repulsed. This past season, archaeologists uncovered what appear to be parts of the foundation and chimney base to the Spencer home and tavern along with a nearby 18th/early 19th century blacksmith shop. Field school participants will unravel more of life on New England’s northern frontier during the Anglo-Indian wars of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.


This experience is a great hands-on opportunity for upper level high school and college students seeking experience in historical archaeology, teachers in need of recertification credits, or history buffs interested in exploring an area with a rich colonial history. Participants will learn basic excavation and recording techniques, laboratory procedures, and the identification of early Anglo-American material culture. The program will be highlighted by field trips to local historic landmarks and weekly films and discussions.


Dr. Neill De Paoli has over thirty-five years of experience as a historical archaeologist, having directed archaeological projects in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. He is an adjunct professor at Southern Maine Community College.


The Field School will be held Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM over a five-week period beginning June 17th. Participants have two options. The field school may be taken as a non-credit program. Participants may sign up for one or more of the 5 one-week sessions. Multiple sessions are discounted: 1  = $175,  2  = $325, 3  = $475, 4 = $625, 5 = $775. Sessions run from June 17th – July 5th and July 15th-July 26th. Participants must be at least 16 years old. 

Individuals seeking course credit can register for a three-week (June 17th- July 5th) 3-credit course (HIST-205-01) offered by Southern Maine Community College. Those interested in this option must register through SMCC by June 15th. Tuition for the 3-credit course is $329.10 for Maine residents and $612.90 for out-of-state residents.

Period(s) of Occupation: mid-17th century - c. 1830

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: See project description above or PDF brochure for information.

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: No

Room and Board Arrangements

Participants are responsible for securing their own housing.  However, Dr. De Paoli can provide a list of local accomodations if needed.

Academic Credit
Name of institution offering credit: Southern Maine Community College
Number of credits offered: 0 or 3-credits depending on which option you select. See brochure for details.
Tuition: See brochure for details.

Contact Information
Dr. Neill De Paoli
76 Northwest Street
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801
United States
Phone: 603-766-0561

Javascript is required to view this map.