Archaeologists on the Hunt for Paul Revere's Poop

They're searching for Boston outhouse that patriot may have used
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2017 1:39 AM CDT
Archeologists Search for Outhouse Linked to Paul Revere
City of Boston Archaeology Program volunteers excavate a site that experts believe may have contained an outhouse used by Paul Revere.   (William J. Kole)

No. 1 if by land, No. 2 if by sea? Archaeologists are excavating what they believe was the site of an outhouse next door to Paul Revere's home—and the "privy," as the colonists politely called their potties, could be flush with artifacts. Historians say people typically dumped trash and household goods in their outhouses. On Thursday, the second full day of the dig, volunteers with the City of Boston Archaeology Program already were pulling fragments of pottery, bottles, and a tobacco pipe from the bricked yard of the Pierce-Hichborn House in the heart of Boston's North End. The house—one of the earliest remaining brick structures in Boston—was built around 1711 next to the Paul Revere House.

So far, there's been no sign of mummified human excrement. That would be the telltale evidence of an outhouse at the home once owned by a cousin of Revere, Boston city archaeologist Joe Bagley tells the AP. "Paul Revere might well have come over here for dinner and used the bathroom," Bagley says. "He had 12 kids in his own little house next door. It's easy to imagine they didn't stay cramped up in there all the time." Any fossilized poop will be analyzed at one of several university archaeological forensics labs for seeds or the remains of parasites—clues that could tell scholars more about the colonists' diet. (In 2015, Boston opened a time capsule placed by Paul Revere.)

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