Archaeology on Hurricane Island, Maine

This listing expired on August 6, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Hurricane Island, Maine, USA

Season: August 7, 2023 to August 11, 2023

Session Dates: August 7-11, 2023

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Hurricane Island Foundation

Project Director:
Dr. Jeffrey L. Benjamin

Project Description:

The remains of late nineteenth century granite mining and finishing operations at Hurricane Island are a testament to a very recent instance of humans’ enduring relationship with stone. In 1870 this island was transformed into a “company town,” providing finished granite structural and architectural components for buildings and monuments across the United States. Several millenia earlier, coastal tribes such as the Micmac and Abenaki — using stone tools — fished and hunted in the same areas where Maine’s granite business was later active, including the works at Hurricane Island. This transition allows us to consider the legacy of human beings as stone-working creatures across time, and how the many varieties and processes involved in stone quarrying and refinement inform sociality and social structures, such as trade, consumption and population. Taking an historical-ecological approach, this summer’s archaeological field program will examine human’s interaction with the environment across millenia, as made manifest by the material remains at Hurricane Island.

In this four day course, students will become familiar with the archaeological history of granite production and Wabanaki presence at Hurricane Island as well as the wider coastal environment. We will continue to survey and map the island’s many remaining anthropogenic features, with a particular emphasis upon botanical remains and questions pertaining to public health. We will also conduct excavation work on selected locations in order to determine the extent of Wabanaki presence, and also gain a more nuanced understanding of the lives and habits of the significant granite working population which peaked in the late 1800’s, and which has limited historical documentation.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical archaeology, mid-nineteenth century

Minimum enrollment, 8 students.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18

Room and Board Arrangements:

Contact Information:

Jeff Benjamin

P.O. 64

West Shokan




Phone: (845) 943-0202

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