Joey Salvo ’14 and Ryan Wheeler, Director of the Robert S. Peabody Museum, both gave presentations at the monthly Northeast Chapter meeting of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society on Tuesday.
Salvo’s presentation, entitled “A World on a Rock: In Cod they Trusted,” was about the cod trade on the Isle of Shoals, a group of islands in the Gulf of Maine, from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Salvo participated in an archaeological dig through the Isle of Shoals Marine Laboratory, which is sponsored by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. The site that the group excavated was once a tavern at the center of a local fishing community.
In his presentation, Salvo discussed the cultural history of the islands, which stemmed from this cod trade.
“What interested me about cod was that it’s not something that you’d think about as being a global product, and yet it’s connected to things that are very global… You have this great economy for something that’s so small, and that struck me as really interesting,” said Salvo.
Cod was one of the first commodities to be traded on the global market, according to Salvo.
Salvo conducted his research at an archaeological dig on the Isle of Shoals. The archaeologists combed over the site in layers, and when artifacts were found, they would be organized by the layer they were found in. The layers allowed the archaeologists to create a timeline because the layers occur chronologically.
Many of the objects found were small animal and fish bones, according to Salvo. The compiled artifacts were brought to a laboratory for analysis.
“I was surprised by the richness and detail of the things that were actually there. You’d think, ‘Oh probably not much happening, just a bunch of fishermen who sat around and ate raw meat,’ but that really wasn’t the case at all,” said Salvo.
Some of the most interesting artifacts that Salvo and his group found were a long-stem pipe, a six-sided die that were most likely used by patrons in the tavern and fishing implements like hooks.
“I’ve really been interested in archaeology and the study of ancient cultures as long as I could read. But, archaeology in particular, I became more involved with when I was in elementary and then middle school,” said Salvo.
Salvo had previously participated in simulated digs, where artifacts are buried for the purpose of the project. Marla Taylor, Collections Manager at the Peabody Museum, approached Salvo about presenting his research in September.
Wheeler, who presented after Salvo, discussed Ripley and Adelaide Bullen, life partners and archaeologist contributors to the Peabody Museum in the 1940s. Wheeler said that he chose to present about the Bullens because of their connection to Andover.
Ripley Bullen worked at the Peabody Museum between 1940 and 1948.
“They really did make significant contributions in New England at the time during the decade that they spent [here]. I think collectively they published several hundred articles, monographs and reports,” said Wheeler.
Wheeler also found the younger Bullens son, Pierce Bullens ’52, who shared a lot of information about his parents.
Wheeler first learned about the Bullens while working in Florida, where he worked until he moved to Massachusetts in 2011.
“They moved to Florida in 1948 when Ripley got a job working for the Florida Park Service,” said Bueller.
He was also interested by the controversy surrounding some of their work. “I kept running into statements recently that suggested there was a little bit of a misunderstanding of their work… They weren’t very well liked or well accepted in the Florida archaeological community, and that it was because they were from New England, from a wealthier class, and this rubbed people the wrong way.”