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COLLECTION Identifier: 53-12-00/1

The Excavators' Club of Harvard University records

Scope and Contents

The papers documents the conception of and organization of the Club, highlighting its work at the Blue Hills, St. Johns River, and Danforth-Foxcroft sites. Rowe's "President's File" consists primarily of correspondence regarding the formation of the club, the membership, and arrangements for speakers and digs. Later correspondence (1950's) concerns the deposition of Excavators' Club materials in the Peabody Museum. Many of the materials excavation by Club members are in the Peabody collections.

Also included is detailed material pertaining to two sites excavated by the Club, the Blue Hills site (in 194-) and the Danforth-Foxcroft house (in 194-). Documents from the first excavation include a stack of field cards and photoprints and negatives of the field session. The second excavation's material includes correspondence arranging the dig, background history of the house, and several field maps of the site at the corner of Oxford and Kirkland Streets, approximately the location of the present Science Center.

Major correspondents include John H. Rowe, Maurice Robbins, Edward Brooks, Douglas S. Byers, Edward M. Davis, Frederick Johnson, John Otis Brew.


  • 1940 - 1957



2 folders

Biographical / Historical

John H. Rowe, a graduate student in Archaeology, founded the Excavators' Club in January 1940. The student organization's purpose was to serve as a training school for those interested in a professional career in archaeology and to establish a "learned society" to advance archaeological knowledge and provide another forum for publication of research. The Club did initiate several digs, among them the Blue Hill River site in S. Braintree, the St. Johns River site near Winter Park (Florida), a site on Nantucket Island, and the Danforth-Foxcroft House in Cambridge. During the early 1940's, the Club sponsored talks at Harvard, mounted an exhibition on "Colonial Archaeology in Massachusetts" at the Peabody Museum, and issued a series of papers. Several of the Excavators' Club members went on to prominence as professional archaeologists.

Related Materials

2001.5: Mott David papers

Related Materials

2001.7.3.29: Research materials on the Palmer-Taylor Mound Excavation by the Excavator's Club, typescript

Related Materials

53-12-00/2: Excavators’ Club Records (17 negatives)

General note

Collections records may contain language, reflecting past collecting practices and methods of analysis, that is no longer acceptable. The Peabody Museum is committed to addressing the problem of offensive and discriminatory language present in its database. Our museum staff are continually updating these records, adding to and improving content. We welcome your feedback and any questions or concerns you may want to share.

Processing Information

Accession folders 53-12 and 53-12A

Excavators' Club of Harvard University records
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository

Papers in the Peabody Museum Archives consist of primary source materials that document the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. More than 2,800 feet of archival paper collections contain documents, papers, manuscripts, correspondence, data, field notes, maps, plans, and other historical records that represent diverse peoples from around the world, and which were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of, many of the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic collections.

11 Divinity Ave.
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02128 USA