Progress inside the Tilden is well underway as we begin to frame out the new accessible bathroom and a small catering kitchen. And, during the removal of the floor in the kitchen we discovered ... Shoes!! Several pairs of boots and shoes as well as bottles, china and other household items are in the dirt beneath the floor. There is a history of hiding shoes in crawl spaces, chimney gaps, attics and beneath the floor of entrances to houses.
European settlers believed that hiding shoes near entry or exit spots would ward off evil spirits and prevent them from entering the house. You can read more about another find in Annapolis, Maryland that closely resembles what we are discovering in Canton. And, a noted archeologist in Boston also noted that the Tilden shoes could be the remnants of a trash midden or privy. We just do not know the answer just yet. The work we are about to do will begin to answer these questions. The area that the work will be done in dates to the mid 1800's - so it is likely that what we are excavating will date to that period and earlier as we dig deeper.
The project team is now undertaking a fabulous new project within the overall preservation of the house. As part of the restoration work, the team began the rehabilitation of the circa (ca.) 1850 ell addition off the Tilden House’s southwest corner. The ell was most recently used as a kitchen. When the existing flooring was removed to prepare for the upgrades, three sets of leather shoes were found on the earth surface of the crawlspace. The Canton Historical Society is working with The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) to document these cultural materials and conduct an archaeological site examination of the area below the ell prior to the start of ground disturbing activities.
The goal of the archaeological site examination will be to locate and document any archaeological deposits that are present within the project impact area. The site examination will be limited to the approximately 8-x-8 foot (ft) interior footprint of the ell where ground disturbing activities may occur. All work is conducted under a State Archaeologist’s Permit issued by the MHC. We are excited to share this project with the public and look forward to what we discover. Indeed, Indiana Jones would be pleased.
The behind the scenes look at the preservation of this historic structure.