Faculty and graduate students from the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Department of Archaeology will be on site this week and next, Monday through Friday, weather permitting, to conduct the first-ever archaeological exploration of the grounds surrounding the 1768 Lee Mansion and Brick Kitchen & Slave Quarters. People are encouraged to stop by and check out the action.
In order to better understand how the Lee family used the land around the Mansion and the Brick Kitchen, as well as how enslaved people and domestic servants lived and worked in and around the buildings, the archaeologists are digging about 20 pits. The materials found during these digs will be processed in the UMass laboratories, and the Museum will receive a detailed report of their expert conclusions.
The hope is that the effort might provide insights about the food the Lees ate, where their carriages were kept, where the well was, what work took place outside (e.g., laundry) and more. Archaeologists may even discover evidence of the enslaved people’s African or West Indian heritage in discarded cultural or culinary artifacts.
The Lee Mansion and adjacent Brick Kitchen & Slave Quarters were built by Jeremiah Lee in 1768. At the time, the Lee family owned three enslaved individu
ls. More information on the archaeological investigation and the two structures is available at www.marbleheadmuseum.org.