Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Alandscape restoration plan for the 45-acre Gore Place property in Waltham and Watertown, MA, calls for restoration of grounds, gardens and structures to depict and interpret the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century occupation of Massachusetts governor and United States senator, Christopher Gore, and his wife, Rebecca. The restoration plan includes archaeological investigation to help identify the location and integrity of six historically documented features on the Gore Place grounds. Blocks and transects of shovel test pits at 5, 10 and 20 meter intervals along with 1 x 1 m excavation units and trenching were employed in the archaeological site examination of these areas. Testing in the area of the present entrance drive revealed evidence of significant landscape alteration characterized by a unique process of top soil removal followed by filling first with a layer of stone, then loamy sand and gravel and finally replacement of topsoil, all in an effort to create flat and well-drained yard space. The existing entrance drive is hypothesized to have been constructed during the Gore occupation as was a separate service drive. Work at the site of the 1793 carriage house succeeded in pinpointing the location of the original foundation, a task that contributes to the structure’s relocation. The site of the Gore-period greenhouse was also identified by architectural remains that include fragments of marble tile flooring identical to that in the Gore Mansion. Astone-lined drain, glass bell jar fragments as well as a soapstone brick possibly associated with the greenhouse heating system were also found. Investigations in the vegetable and flower gardens revealed intact soils and late eighteenth- / early nineteenth-century artifacts suggesting Gore-period garden features may be preserved and are potentially archaeologically identifiable. Work in the area of the grapery/fruitwall revealed remains of the large greenhouse that occupied the site from the second quarter of the nineteenth century until ca. 1921. Intact greenhouse soils and foundations suggest that the original fruitwall footing is preserved within the later greenhouse foundation. All of these features are well preserved and exhibit a high level of integrity. Those areas of the property not tested during the survey may be archaeologically sensitive and may requrie testing in advance of future proposed impacts. Recommendations specific to each area include options for grounds restoration and interpretation as well as additional archaeological investigations to proceed in tandem with proposed landscape changes. The report also includes a summary of scholarly research associated with design landscape archaeology with reference to Massachusetts.


Prepared for Gore Place Society by the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research, University of Massachusetts Boston. Cultural Resources Management Study No 17.