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Roxbury archaeology dig uncovering artifacts from 1700s

City leading excavation around the Shirley-Eustis House, one of the last colonial governor’s mansions in the U.S.

Tim Sackton/Wikipedia

The city is leading an archaeological dig at the Shirley-Eustis House at 33 Shirley Street in Roxbury, one of the last colonial governor’s mansions standing the United States.

The dig, which started October 1 and is overseen by Boston archaeologist Joe Bagley, has already netted discoveries from the 18th and 19th centuries such as clothespins, marbles, broken glass, ceramics, a piece of a doll, and uranium glass, per the Globe’s Emily Sweeney. The glass was likely part of an oil lamp.

But the big find would be—and probably is—an outhouse or privy. Such structures were not only used for relief, thereby providing a window into the diets of people of yesteryear, but also as de facto trash heaps. Any number of artifacts tend to turn up around privies.

What’s more, such a repository can show not only what notables at the old governors mansion threw away, but what lesser-known residents tossed. Stay tuned.