Thomas Daniels Archaeological Site
An Early 18th-Century Connecticut Homestead
The Thomas Daniels Archaeological Site in Waterford, Connecticut, was the location of a homestead established in 1712 and occupied for much of the 18th century. The site was the home of Thomas Daniels, his wife, Hannah, and their children. Daniels, a "middling-sort" farmer, died in 1735; his widow occupied the house until her death in 1744. The property was then acquired by wealthy New London merchant Matthew Stewart. The house was probably rented out to a tenant or series of tenants through the 1770s, after which it seems to have been abandoned.
Archaeological investigations at the site determined that Daniels built a small one-over-one-room house with an end chimney and a stone-lined cellar. Later occupants built an addition to the house using post-in-ground construction. Within this earthfast addition, the post-Daniels occupants built a small blacksmith shop off the back of the house that primarily manufactured nails.
More than 73,000 artifacts and ecofacts were recovered and inventoried by the project: ceramics, nails, window and bottle glass, pipe fragments, food remains, and all sorts of household objects. The archaeology also located numerous features such as food-storage pits, a hearth, and refuse and shell middens. The artifacts, ecofacts, and features associated with the Thomas Daniels Site provide new insight into 18th-century architecture and lifeways.
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Overhead view of the site partway through excavations.