< back

Domestic Life

For better insight into domestic life of the Greene family and their house servants, students looked at artifacts within the yard and fields in close proximity to the main house. The students conducted a pedestrian survey (walkover) of the property to identify artifacts on the ground’s surface. Scatters of artifacts were noted in the field east of main yard and around the house. One historic trash midden (Feature 1) near Spell Hall has long been known to have archaeological value. In the 1950s, the former caretakers of the house excavated part of the midden. While artifacts recovered from the feature were associated with life at Spell Hall and the Greene family, no archaeological records were kept or recorded. The caretakers’ informal excavation of the feature resulted in a loss of archaeological data that provided context for the artifacts provenience such as stratigraphy, depth and concentrations of cultural materials. Students drew and measured the exposed part of the feature and photographed artifacts identified on the surface.

The class identified a second domestic area located due east of Spell Hall, near the former forge site. Remnants of a stone well and fieldstone foundation were set into the bank of a cart path. A scatter of domestic artifacts covered the surface of the modest structure. The bank was cut with potential for additional domestic structures continuing to the south. By clearing vegetation, the class identified foundations to blacksmith shop. Located east of the house foundation and west of submerged forge site, the structures were arranged within a cluster. The close proximity to the industrial activity areas and the modest domestic structure indicate this area to be worker housing.

Burials and Rituals

Greene Cemetery and possible second cemetery south of Greene Cemetery

Cemetery Delineation

Students examined the Greene family cemetery and the area directly south of the cemetery. Students looked at the grave markers within the Greene Cemetery, then cleared leaves and vegetation in the area south of the cemetery, in an attempt to locate suspected gravestones identified by NGH volunteers. Students did not identify any grave markers within the area south of the cemetery. Once the students cleared the vegetation, the possible grave markers appeared to be stones associated with a wall. The class identified two low lying walls consisted of dry-laid field stone that would of enclosed an area 16-x-22 meters (52.5-x-72 feet) that abutted the tabular cut stone wall of the Greene Cemetery. While it is unclear, what activities occurred within this area, no grave markers were identified on the ground’s surface.


In all areas examined by students, they were encouraged to contemplate the working lives of the Greene’s and those in their employ. Historical records indicate the Greene’s contracted indentured servants to work within the iron works. Slaves also could have been used for both domestic and industrial activities. Skilled workers also may have hired, taking on apprentices to learn the trade. Working conditions of employees, levels of skill and industrial process of making iron were core topics students reviewed throughout the field school.

Students looked at the Greene Paper Mill Site, recording and measuring the foundations of the remains of the mill. Vegetation and leaf clearing occurred prior to documenting the walls of the mill. Students worked with 3-D modeling using mobile application programs to record stone walls and other structural features.
Students also examined the blacksmith shop. Clearing of vegetation around the modest domestic site revealed large boulder foundations approx. 25 feet to the east. The large foundation stones are associated with the Greene’s iron works. The forge site itself is submerged in the mill pond, however blacksmith shop foundations are exposed on the surface. Students continued working with 3-D modeling to record stone walls and other structural features around the domestic/industrial site.