Iron Key, circa 1670
DRHS Collection, 2010.063.001
Key excavated from the Captain Myles and Barbara Standish homesite during the James Hall dig in 1856, most likely belonging to the Standish family.
The excavation of the Standish homesite by James Hall in the fall of 1856 is considered one of the nation’s first professional archaeological digs. Hall, an engraver from Boston, was a descendant of Myles Standish. He is credited with making a detailed plan of the site, although his theory about the layout of the Standish house has since been questioned. He dug further than Reverend Benjamin Kent, to a depth to over four feet, and was assisted in the excavation by a number of local men who lived in the vicinity (some of whom may have dug on their own previously). These men included Lyman Drew, George B. Bates and George Sears.
Myles Standish, born circa 1584, was an English military officer hired to accompany the Pilgrims in 1620 as their military adviser. He played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony. He was one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxbury. He is buried at the Myles Standish Burying Ground.
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