The Archaeology of John and Priscilla Alden’s House Duxbury, MA


“Roland Robbins’ excavation of the first house built by John Alden in Duxbury revealed a house of this type. Ten feet wide and approximately forty feet long, the house had a cellar at one end and, although poorly visible, traces of a hearth one half the distance from one end to the other. Such an arrangement would suggest possibly a two-room plan, each room ten by twenty feet, although even smaller internal divisions of either or both halves could have existed. The structure was rather narrow; we shall see that the usual English building unit is sixteen feet on a side or larger.” (Dr. James Deetz In Small Things Forgotten 1972: 96-97)

This report analyzes the archaeologically derived artifactual and architectural data gathered by Roland Robbins during his 1960 excavation at the John Alden site in Duxbury, Massachusetts and their subsequent interpretation  in 1995. It is this author’s belief that the architecture of the site has been mis-interpreted for the past 40 years and that past artifactual analysis has dated the deposits in the cellar hole too early. It is this authors belief that the site does represent the home of John Alden of the Mayflower, but that it did not look like the way it has been popularly architecturally interpreted and was, in fact, his home for most if not all of his life in Duxbury. This report does not seek to destroy beliefs concerning John and Priscilla Alden, but merely to gain a better and truer understanding of their lives as represented at this site.

Alden Site Archaeological Report