Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Heather Trigg

Second Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Third Advisor

David Landon


Residents of Boston in the eighteenth century utilized a wide range of botanical materials in their daily lives, navigating complex urban marketing systems and utilizing their own individual ingenuity to procure botanical resources. The one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three botanical remains recovered from a "community midden" underneath the present-day Faneuil Hall represents a diverse collection of taxa which encodes information not only about the localized dietary practices of colonial urban residents, but also helps to illuminate the more subtle ramifications of Boston's participation in the Atlantic economy on the lives of its residents. These botanical remains represent taxa from a variety of sources; many could have been cultivated in home gardens, while others may have been gathered from the wild, brought to Boston from outlying farms, or imported and sold by merchants with strong connections to the trans-Atlantic commodities trade. Understanding the sources of these botanical materials allows us to reconstruct the numerous ways in which Boston's patchwork marketing system was provisioned, while at the same time clarifying the historical record of botanical use within Boston's urban center.