On June 26, Elizabeth Minor ’03, lecturer in anthropology at Wellesley, and six students began the process of closing their archeological dig on Severance Hill for the summer. The team has spent the last few weeks carefully excavating two units on the hillside that was the site of College Hall, destroyed in a fire almost 105 years ago.
Minor and her team are no strangers of the courtyards and hills around Tower Court. Minor has led excavations in multiple sites in the area since this project began in the fall of 2017. This summer, the team focused on Tower Courtyard and the top of Severance Hill.
When developing the project, Minor used student input to determine where to dig. Students indicated where they thought the most interesting spots were on a digital map overlaid with a map of College Hall; Minor and her team dug in the locations that got the most clicks.
While working in the courtyard, the students uncovered a bullet that may have belonged to the Naval officers in training housed by Wellesley in the 1940s. They also uncovered a rubber belt and multiple square nails.
After completing their dig in Tower Courtyard, the team moved to the top of Severance Hill to continue their work. In one unit there, they found broken dining hall trays (likely used for sledding), a shirt button, a pork rib presumably from a picnic, and some tiny remains of teacups and saucers. When they expanded their search to a second unit, they also found fossils, scientific equipment, mineral samples, and a brick wall.
Two weeks later, Minor and her student researchers spent a warm morning on Severance Hill finishing their documentation and closing the site for the summer. Learn more about the Wellesley College Hall Archaeology Project.