Archaeology on Hurricane Island, Maine

This listing expired on August 7, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Hurricane Island, ME

Season: August 7, 2022 to August 12, 2022

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Hurricane Island Foundation, Columbia University

Project Director:
Jeff Benjamin

Project Description:

The remains of late nineteenth century granite mining and finishing operations at Hurricane Island, Maine, are a testament to a very recent instance of humans’ enduring relationship with stone. In 1870 the island was transformed into a “company town” providing finished granite structural and architectural components for buildings and monuments across the United States. Several millennia 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 embrace the challenge of looking at humans’ relation with stone across millennia, 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 to 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: Industrial Archaeology, Historical Archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: Prerequisites: Curiosity and Interest

Room and Board Arrangements:
$900 total cost for tuition, room and board; August 7-12, 2022

Academic Credit:

Contact Information:

Jeffrey Benjamin

P.O. 64

West Shokan




Phone: (845) 943-0202

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