Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David B. Landon

Second Advisor

Christa Beranek

Third Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski


The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rise of the national heritage movement in the United States; the movement’s manifestation in Plymouth, Massachusetts centered around the original Pilgrim settlement in 1620. In 1894, wealthy Baltimore steel baron and former Plymouth Bay resident J. Henry Stickney passed away, bequeathing over $10,000 in his will to a group of prominent community members known as the Trustees of the Stickney Fund. This bequest was for the purpose of beautifying Burial Hill, a prominent landform situated at the core of the town and the site of the original Pilgrim settlement. The Trustees acquired parcels of land along School and South Russell Streets on Burial Hill and subsequently demolished all standing structures. Using historical records and the results of the University of Massachusetts Boston’s 2014 archaeological excavations in this area, this study examines the material remains of some of these structures and the lives of Burial Hill landowners as told through vital records. Compared to other contemporary urban renewal projects elsewhere in Plymouth and a later project in the town in the 1960s, the modification of Burial Hill seems to have been done largely without documented controversy. Archaeological and documentary evidence suggests that many of the buildings along Burial Hill were outbuildings, secondary business structures such as livery stables, or tenant houses. A majority of these landowners were generational residents of Plymouth who seemed to – at least on some level – accord with the Trustees’ vision for Burial Hill and its beautification.


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