Ground Penetrating Radar Survey and Collection Analysis at the Myles Standish Homesite


The Myles and Barbara Standish homesite is located on 1.04 acres of town-owned property adjacent to Plymouth Harbor in The Nook section of Duxbury, Massachusetts. The first documented owner of the property was Myles Standish and his wife Barbara who were granted the land in 1627. The property remained in the Standish family until 1763. It changed hands many times before it was given to the Town of Duxbury by the Standish Monument Association in 1930. It is currently managed by the Town of Duxbury.

The site became a focus of antiquarian investigations in the nineteenth century, with the first recorded investigation occurring in 1828 or 29. Various known and unknown parties appear to have collected at the site between Kent’s work and the first well known excavation carried out by James Hall in 1856. James Deetz popularized Hall’s investigation as the first known systematic historical archaeological investigation conducted in North America. Deetz praised Hall for creating a site plan, locating the site with reference from two points of reference, and piece plotting some of the artifacts he found. The structure Hall reportedly uncovered was lauded by Deetz as a unique form of vernacular architecture and assumed by others to represent a New World representation of classic Welsh/ western highland England co-joined farmstead. All of this interpretation was done without anyone questioning the accuracy of what Hall drew or even systematically investigating the artifacts recovered and the documentary history of the site.

Questions remain regarding the layout of the original house built on the site, its dimensions, the site’s integrity, and the association between what Hall depicted and recorded in his notes and what has been interpreted. It is believed that limited further testing at the site has the potential to address these issues and to investigate a what could be a very rare vernacular house form.

Standish Report