Archaeology is the study of human history through the artifacts they leave behind. An archaeologist is a scientist who studies how people lived in the past.
Archaeologists only study humans. Archaeology has nothing to do with dinosaurs or fossils. Those are studied by paleontologists.
Why does the city have an archaeologist?
Boston is home to a wealth of historic materials. At the urging of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the position of City Archaeologist was created in 1983. The Archaeologist is part of the Boston Landmarks Commission and works to uncover and protect the City’s vast number of archaeological artifacts. Joe Bagley is the City of Boston’s Archaeologist, and Brona Simon is the State Archaeologist.
What does the City Archaeologist do?
As City Archaeologist, Joe Bagley curates the 31 and counting archaeological collections currently housed at the City Archaeology Laboratory at 201 Rivermoor St. in West Roxbury, acts as the review and compliance agent for below-ground cultural resources in the city, educates the public in archaeology through a number of city programs, and manages Rainsford Island, one of the City’s most important historical holdings.
Where is the archaeology lab?
The City Archaeology Laboratory, Education and Curation Center is located in the City Archives at 201 Rivermoor Street in West Roxbury. It is accessible by public transit through the 36 Bus to Rivermoor from Forest Hills on the Orange Line. There is also plenty of free parking for those who wish to drive.
When is the archaeology lab open?
The City lab is open Monday through Friday by appointment and on weekends for special occasions. It is free to visit and open to the public with an appointment.
What is in the archaeology lab?
The City Archaeology Lab is divided into four components.
Office of the City Archaeologist: Here, City Archaeologist, Joe Bagley, meets with researchers and volunteers, writes archaeological reports, and orchestrates the City Archaeology Program.
Classroom: With room for over 20 people, the classroom is a dedicated space to share the story of the archaeology of Boston will school groups, visitors, and groups of interested people.
Archaeology Lab: The lab is the heart of the City Archaeology Program. Here there is a dedicated space for washing, analyzing, and sorting artifacts. There are two attached rooms with a photo station, sink, and two dedicated work stations for researchers with long-term projects.
Curation Facility: This area, the majority of the space in the lab, holds the archaeological collections of the City Archaeology Program. Thousands of organized boxes hold around 1,000,000 artifacts that record of the history of Boston.
How Can I Get Involved?
The City lab and Archaeology Program is staffed by the City Archaeologist and an enthusiastic group of volunteers and interns. There are many opportunities for anyone who is interested to get involved. Please visit the "Get Involved" page for more information.