108 Bray Farm Road N.
Yarmouth Port, MA

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Taylor-Bray Farm Archaeology Project

Samuel Taylor House Artifact Analysis - 2010

When renovation efforts began in 2010, numerous artifact and architectural discoveries were made beneath the floors of the farmhouse. Throughout February and March 2011, the archaeologist and volunteers excavated much of the area beneath and to the immediate north of the house. A total of 21,115 artifacts were recovered during the excavations.

This page summarizes the findings of those excavations. Read Craig Chartier's full report of the artifacts from the Samuel Taylor farmhouse(pdf)..

Prehistoric Artifacts

Susquehanna & Squibnocket Points

Excavations recovered 30 lithic artifacts relating to the use of the area around the house by Native people. Rhyolite flakes and quartz shatter were recovered from under several rooms and the terrace to the north of the house. A rhyolite uniface came from under the North Ell. Two rhyolite Susquehanna points and a quartz Squibnocket Triangle (right), a rhyolite drill, and a rhyolite Early Woodland Rossville point (below left) were found on the terrace north of the North Ell. A granite grindstone (below right) was found in the low border wall of the terrace.

2010RossvillePoint148h 2010Grindstone148h

The types of artifacts discovered were not the sorts of pieces that a colonial farmer would usually collect indicating that these were likely simply items lost or left behind during small-scale, short-term Native occupation 3700 to 2000 years ago.

Historic Artifacts

Artifacts recovered from under the kitchen floor were dated to the first half of the nineteenth century. This included a variety of table ware and hand blown and machine-made bottles and glass. Construction materials, bricks, mortar, hand wrought and machine-cut nails were also found. It would appear that at some point in the early nineteenth century, the floor of the kitchen had been removed and provided a convenient place for the inhabitants to deposit household trash for a short period of time.


A variety of artifacts were recovered from under the pantry including cattle, swine, chicken and cod bones, white ware, pearl ware, red ware, a 4-hole bone button and leather shoe pieces. This material dates to at least the first half of the nineteenth century, and more probably to the first thirty years of the century.

Removal of the floor boards of the North Ell revealed an extensive deposit of middle to late nineteenth century artifacts (left). The material appeared to be randomly scattered across the ground surface. The deposit was found to extend north, outside of the ell onto the north terrace. The ground to approximately 10 cm below surface consisted of loose dark gray silty sand with numerous artifacts mixed in it. In some portions of the North Ell, earlier nineteenth century ceramics were recovered at lower levels, indicating that refuse disposal occurred in this area prior to the construction of the ells in the nineteenth century.

Plate Fragments

Excavation under the foundation stones encountered crushed ceramics that were present when the foundation was laid. The ceramic type consisted of whiteware and ironstone that were directly under and in contact with the foundation stones. Some shell was also found under the foundation stones. The western section of the north foundation also contained a layer of bricks at it base, probably bricks that were discarded when the chimney and hearth in the Center Ell was rebuilt.

Three three-sided files and one iron punch were recovered as well as were fragments of eight sharpening stones used to sharpen any of a wide variety of farm implements. Especially interesting was a bipenate sythe sharpening stone (below) recovered from the North Ell Exterior. The Barnstable Patriot on September 7, 1836 ran this story:

"ACCIDENT - We learn that on Wednesday afternoon last, Luther Taylor, son of Mr. James Taylor of Yarmouth, met with an accident which had well nigh prove fatal. The father having been mowing left the scythe in the field, where were his two lads of six and ten years. The elder boy taking it up and swinging it round as if to mow, struck his brother in the abdomen, near the naval, cutting a large gash, and causing the bowels to gush out, leaving him in a dreadful situation. Skillful surgical assistance being called, the wound was cleansed and sewed up, and we learn from his attendant, Dr. Teek, of this town, that there is a fair probability of his recovery."

Luther Taylor went to live an additional 22 years, eventually marrying Lucy White who sold the farm to the Bray brothers in 1896. the bipenate sharpening stone is a type used specifically to sharpen scythes and this may have been the very one used to sharpen that scythe that cut young Luther.