Gloucester Harbor Archaeology

Planning for the Former Gloucester MGP Remediation Project included the identification of significant historic and archaeological properties within the project area. National Grid consulted with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Gloucester Historical Commission, Maritime Gloucester, and others to determine the appropriate treatments for the protection and documentation of these properties. Cultural resource management firms The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) and David S. Robinson & Associates, Inc. (DSRA) are assisting the helping to integrate several project activities to protect these properties into the Project design.

1885 Gloucester Gas Light Company plan for “wharfing out.” These expansions of the waterfront left older wharves and piers buried in fills. Archaeological monitoring during project construction will record any remnants of the buried historic waterfront (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Waterways Research Room)

1885 Gloucester Gas Light Company plan for “wharfing out.” These expansions of the waterfront left older wharves and piers buried in fills. Archaeological monitoring during project construction will record any remnants of the buried historic waterfront (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Waterways Research Room)

2015 photo of granite wharves and seawalls and timber piers lining Duncan’s Point. Landowners typically “wharfed out” or expanded their waterfront by constructing seawalls, which demonstrate the massive human efforts to improve the harbor in support of the fishing industry. The extensive use of granite block in these walls is also a testament to the historically robust granite industry of Cape Ann

2015 photo of granite wharves and seawalls and timber piers lining Duncan’s Point. Landowners typically “wharfed out” or expanded their waterfront by constructing seawalls, which demonstrate the massive human efforts to improve the harbor in support of the fishing industry. The extensive use of granite block in these walls is also a testament to the historically robust granite industry of Cape Ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Project was modified to restore and protect the operational components of Burnham’s Marine Railway. Several historic granite wharves that need to be removed will be reconstructed using the original stones. Archaeological surveys of the upland and harbor portions of the project area identified potential belowground seawalls and the remains of the second railway at Burham’s Marine Railway as significant archaeological resources. Archaeological monitors will observe the project contractors and record any important archaeological site features or artifacts that may be uncovered during the remediation activities.

A mosaic image of high-resolution side-scan sonar data shows the second Burnham’s Marine Railway that was abandoned after a 1953 fire. Archaeological monitoring during project construction will record any remnants of this historic structure that may be recovered during project dredging in the harbor (DSRA 2014).

A mosaic image of high-resolution side-scan sonar data shows the second Burnham’s Marine Railway that was abandoned after a 1953 fire. Archaeological monitoring during project construction will record any remnants of this historic structure that may be recovered during project dredging in the harbor (DSRA 2014).

December 2016:  This technical memorandum documents the seawall removal, excavation, and reconstruction; and progress on the marine railways documentation and recordation.