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2014 DRA Archaeology Field School
Elisha Hatch Homestead • Newcastle, Maine

Tim Dinsmore On-SiteThe 2014 Damariscotta River Association’s (DRA) Archaeology Field School will be focused on the Elisha Hatch Homestead site located off River Road in Newcastle. The site marks the third and final leg of historical archaeologist Tim Dinsmore's investigation into the 18th-century Barstow-Bryant shipbuilding complex. Dinsmore will direct field school participants in the partial excavation of the Hatch Homestead site with the aim being to define the structural layout of the site.

Site ExcavationFurthermore, participants will have the opportunity to excavate an area believed to be the location of Hatch's blacksmith shop located approximately 150 feet from the homestead site. Hatch eventually moved to Bristol and shipwright Nathaniel Bryant II is believed to have occupied the Hatch homestead from 1790-1803. Bryant launched at least a couple sailing vessels from his father's shipyard before relocating to the Damariscotta Mills.

This is a rare opportunity for field school participants to help excavate a site associated with the first years of the shipbuilding industry along the Damariscotta--an industry that flourished throughout much of the 19th century. The site is virtually untouched since the 18th century and the excavation will afford a detailed glimpse into the daily lives of 18th-century shipwrights and blacksmiths. Participants will attain basic field methodology skills by helping excavate sections of this important site. Artifacts of both a domestic and industrial nature (blacksmith and shipbuilding) are anticipated.

Screening SoilsParticipants are required to register prior to attending the field school and a $100 fee is required upfront to hold your position. Register soon as this very popular program fills quickly. The minimum age to attend is 14 and past field school sessions have included high school age students, college students (majoring in anthropology, history, American studies, material culture and museum studies, etc.), and retirees who have always wanted to participate in a professional archaeological dig. Experience among participants in past years has ranged from first timers to seasoned excavators to up and coming archaeologists.

For additional information on the field school and to register online please see below or contact the Damariscotta River Association (DRA): 207-563-1393. So, join in the fun, help contribute to an important chapter in the maritime history of the Damariscotta River region, and learn the rigors and fundamental principles of archaeology in the mid-coast of Maine!

2014 DRA Archaeology Field School Dates:

  • Session #1: July 6–11 Cost: $350 ($325 DRA Members)
  • Session #2: July 13–18 Cost: $350 ($325 DRA Members)
  • Two Sessions: Cost $550 ($500 DRA Members)


  • A non-refundable $100 deposit is required with registration to reserve your space
  • Scholarships Available: Partial scholarships available to teachers and students through the "Helen Gurland Scholarship Fund." Call or email for details.
  • Room & Board not included

Download our registration form here (updated 6/3/2014) and send the completed form and payment to:
Damariscotta River Association • PO Box 333 • Damariscotta, ME 04543

If you are unable to download or print the form, please call the DRA office at (207) 563-1393.

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