Do you DIG the Junkins Family? Here is the proposal for the Junkins garrison site dig from archeologist Neill De Paoli.

Proposal for the Archaeological Investigation

of the Junkins “Garrison” House Site

Scotland Neighborhood, York, Maine

Neill De Paoli, PhD
June 9, 2015

A. Introduction

I am following up on the presentation I gave at the Junkins Family Association annual
gathering this past fall. As I said then, exploring the history and archaeology of the reputed
early homestead of Robert Junkins (1621-1699) situated on the northern side of Cider Hill
Road/Rt. 91 in York and currently owned by Alan and Nancy Junkins fits right into two of
my favorite areas of study, English settlement and Anglo-Indian relations in northern New
England, 1675 - 1720. For the last six years, I have focused much of my research on the impact
that the worst of the ongoing Anglo-Indian conflict (King Philip’s War/1675-1678, King
William’s War/1688-1697, Queen Anne’s War/1703-1714), beginning with King Phillip’s
War, had on the makeup and layout of the English settlements and the daily lives of the
inhabitants in the Piscataqua region, most notably old Berwick and York, Maine. As you may
recall, for the last six years I have been digging on the site of a late 17th century and 18th
century house, tavern, and possible garrison in the Old Fields “neighborhood” of South
Berwick. My crew and I have uncovered much of the stone foundation and probable cellar to
Spencer-Goodwin house and tavern along with a large collection of late 17th and 18th century
household trash discarded and lost by the families of Humphrey Spencer and Captain
Ichabod Goodwin, the Captain’s five slaves, and patrons of the tavern. Finds have included
earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain plates, bowls, drinking tankards, mugs, punch bowls,
and storage and cooking pots from England, Germany, Spain, and China. The excavations
have also recovered the remains of turned lead and thin glass window panes from the
casement windows that lit the interior of the late 17th/early 18th century home and tavern,
and a handful of coins from Great Britain, Spain, and Germany.

I would like to investigate the reputed site of the early Junkins homestead in much the same
way as I have the Spencer-Goodwin house and tavern site in South Berwick (Figure 1). The
site is situated in York, Maine on the northern side of Rt. 91/Cider Hill Road on the property
of Alan and Nancy Junkins. I intend to use the first dig season as an exploratory investigation
where my crew and I will familiarize ourselves with the property and its history. The first
and primary objective of the project is to determine whether the two cellarholes are the site of
the first (and only?) home of Robert Junkins. Local and Junkins family tradition has long held
that this site and the well documented two-story log constructed garrison dwelling that stood
over it (until fire consumed the complex between 1889 and 1892) was built in the late 17th
century for Robert Junkins. Others have claimed that it was more likely that this dwelling
and the archaeological site were those of the home of Alexander Junkins, Robert’s second
son, built in the first decade of the 1700s. In this scenario, Robert Junkins first home may have
been located a half mile west? on the “old Linscott Road” of the Junkins cellarhole on today’s
home and property of Alan and Nancy Junkins. My cursory study of the York Deeds and the
wills of Robert Junkins (1696) and Alexander Junkins (1735), his second son, have provided
tantalizing but inconclusive evidence. Alexander, in his will, noted he lived on his “Father’s
Homestead with ye Dwelling House & Barn.” Could this be the home Robert Junkins had
built soon after resettling in York from Dover in 1657 or a later dwelling built by Alexander
after he had inherited his father’s homestead in the early 1720s?

B. Archaeological Background

Four documented archaeological digs (3) and monitoring (1) led by professional
archaeologists have taken place on the reputed site of the home of Robert Junkins. The
limited archaeological investigations have provided mixed results. The first two occurred in
1990 and 1991. In 1990, Alan Junkins hired an archaeological team led by Kathleen Wheeler
to redefine the location and bounds of the Alexander Junkins family burial ground (1785-
1844) on the northwestern edge of Alan Junkins’s property. The archaeologists, while reexposing
five graves and 19th century gravestones, uncovered no evidence of late 17th or early
18th century archaeological features or artifacts. They did find a handful of brick and granite
fragments and one piece of an early 19th century pearlware vessel in several postmolds
uncovered in the burial ground.

A year later, archaeologists led by Kathleen and Emerson Baker excavated around and inside
the cellarhole of the reputed home of Robert Junkins. Wheeler and Baker were completing
the final phase of an archaeological survey of York begun in 1985. The goal of this phase of
the survey was to locate archaeological evidence of 17th century settlement in the Cider Hill-
Scotland-Brixham area of York. Four test pits were excavated a short distance west and
northwest of the Junkins house cellarhole. A fifth test pit was excavated just south of the
cellar’s southern edge while two more were placed short distances from the eastern bounds
of the structural depression. The archaeologists recovered cultural material in all seven of the
test pits.

Examination of the edges and interior of the Junkins’s house cellarhole turned up more
historic debris. Two large piles of brick were located just outside the cellarhole
(Figures 3 & 4). The brick appears to be rubble from the collapsed and disassembled
fireplaces and chimney stacks that once heated the inside of the original core of the Junkins’s
house and its later northern ell (Figure 5). The interior of the Junkins’s house cellarhole
contained primarily 19th century bottle glass along with “brick, nails, burned wood, and
window glass.” Excavation outside the southern edge of the cellarhole or front of the Junkins’
house(Unit 250) turned up more historic artifacts, nearly half (47.2%/69) of which were
fragments of window glass. The remaining artifacts were primarily pieces of ceramic vessels
and flatware (50) with smaller amounts of bottle glass (3), bone/shell (7), clay smoking pipes
(2), metal (4), handwrought (2) and machine cut nails (9). The vast majority of the ceramics
were English pearlware (36) followed by small amounts of redware (9), English creamware
(3), and post-1830 ceramics (2). The two test pits (U248, U249) dug slightly west of the
western edges of the cellarhole and northern ell contained, aside from U251, the smallest
amount of historic artifacts (93) found on the site. The contents of both pits were a mix of 18th
and early 19th century household trash and architectural debris.

Kathleen Wheeler and her crew returned to the Junkins’ house site during the spring of 1993
to monitor machine excavations of the cellarhole of the new home of Alan and Nancy Junkins
along with a septic system, utility trench for a town water main, and a gravel driveway. The
excavated cellar hole was roughly 250 feet south of the site of the Junkins’ “garrison” house
while the septic system was a short distance beyond the new house site. Wheeler’s crew,
while monitoring the machine excavation, observed “a very thin scatter of primarily late
eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century remains.” These artifacts included fragments of
brick, green shell-edged pearlware, undecorated creamware, and redware.” Additional
excavation of a utility line for water pipes for the new home east of the early cellarholes
unearthed “bricks, kaolin pipestems, mammal bones, bottle glass, and various ceramics.” The
ceramics appeared to date from the first half of the 1700s and included English white saltglazed
stoneware, Staffordshire combed and dotted buff earthenware, and redware.” Most
encouraging was a “concentration” of these ceramics unearthed about 130 feet (40 meters)
from the front/southern facade of the early Junkins’ house. Wheeler also noted that
monitoring of the grading of the gravel driveway for Junkins’s new home revealed a rapid
drop in the quantity of artifacts. The archaeologists collected small quantities of brick,
redware, Staffordshire slipware, English white saltglaze stoneware, and a single fragment of
an 8/64 stem to a clay smoking pipe. The discovery of the early pipe stem once again makes a
compelling argument for the presence of a pre-1700 dwelling, the pipe fragment possibly a
discard from one of the occupants of the nearby home of Robert Junkins.

Alan Junkins complemented the discoveries of the professional archaeologists with several of
his own during some informal archaeological forays he made into the cellar of the Junkins’
house between 1993 and 2007. His most notable finds were three fragments of two or three
kaolin clay smoking pipes dating from the second half of the 1600s and possibly the first
decade of the 1700s. The most exciting find was the stem and bowl of an English smoking
pipe dating from the last quarter of the 1600s. The pipe’s bowl was intact and decorated with
rouletting around its rim and a small spur on its base (Figure 6).

C. Proposed Archaeological Investigations

I am proposing to build on the results of the investigations carried out by Kathy Wheeler and
Emerson Baker and conclusively determine the identity and antiquity of the Junkins’ garrison
house. Beyond that, I hope to determine the overall makeup and layout of this late 17th or
early 18th century Junkins’ farmstead. What other buildings were present during the active
years of the Junkins’ farmstead (late 1600s? – c. mid-1800s)? I would expect to see at least one
or barns and a privy/outhouse. How did the Junkins farm evolve during the turbulent late
1600s and early 1700s into the greater stability and rapid growth of the mid to late 1700s and
early 1800s? How were these changes reflected in the material culture of the Junkins’ family

The project I have in mind would be an extensive, multi-year archaeological investigation of
not only the site of the Junkins “garrison” house but the grounds north, west, south, and east
of the structure . I would like to initiate the project with preliminary archaeological
investigations during the weeks of August 10-14, 17-21, and several as yet to be determined
dates in the latter part of October and November. The goals of the 2015 excavations would
be to take a more intensive look at the cellar and foundations of the original late 17th or early
18th century core of the Junkins’ “garrison” house and its later northern addition. The latter
probably dates to the 18th century. I would dig one 2.5 by 5.0 foot excavation unit* in the
cellarhole of the original Junkins’ dwelling. Excavation of this unit should provide a complete
archaeological “picture” of the occupation layers of this structure: the house’s presumed
construction in the late 1600s or early 1700s, its abandonment in the 1860s, fiery destruction
in 1892, and the post-1892 use of the house’s cellar holes by Junkin’s family members and
others as a trash disposal area. Alan’s earlier discovery of the remains of early clay smoking
pipes increases the likelihood that excavation may uncover Junkins’ family household trash
dating to the late 1600s.

I would like to take the same approach when investigating the area of the later ell that
extended to the north of the earlier core of the Junkins’ dwelling (Figure 2). Here, I would
excavate two or three 2.5 by 2.5 foot test pits inside and immediately outside the suspected
bounds of the ell. One of these pits would be excavated inside the cellarhole of the ell. Kathy
Wheeler’s crew excavated a short distance west, north, and east of the ell but not inside it.
Excavation of these digging pits units would help me determine, at the very least, the size,
makeup, and antiquity of the ell. The wooden superstructure of the ell presumably sat on
either stone and/or brick foundations or footings. Time permitting, excavation may provide
some idea of the internal layout of the ell. Two late 19th century photographs of the ruins of
the Junkin’s dwelling show a single chimney on the northern gable end of the ell (Figure 5).
Were this chimney and the respective first and second floor fireplaces always the only
sources of heat for the occupants of the ell?

Ground-penetrating radar would be a useful tool for assessing the archaeological sensitivity
of the property of Alan and Nancy Junkins. The advantage of a GPR survey, in contrast to the
traditional subsurface testing, is that it is non-invasive and far less time consuming. Ideally,
all of the Junkins’ property should be surveyed due to the limited scope of the archaeological
investigations of the 1990s and 2007. A ground penetrating radar survey of the Junkins’
property could help pinpoint additional archaeological elements of the early Junkins’
homestead such as barns, dairy, privies, and large trash deposits. In turn, a GPR survey could
help relocate the utility lines and septic system excavated by backhoe during the 1990s
excavation of the new Junkins’ house along with the undocumented digs carried out by local
antiquarians and amateur archaeologists during the 19th and 20th centuries. All of this
information could be eventually incorporated into a “master” map documenting all of these
features. Current and future archaeologists could use the map to plan on which areas to
avoid and which to focus archaeological investigations. The area with the greatest promise
would be that immediately surrounding the two cellarholes of the Junkins’ dwelling. Here,
one could expect to uncover the stone or brick foundations of the ell and the inevitable trash
thrown out by the house’s early occupants. It is unlikely a ground penetrating survey could
be done this year due to the time and potential funds needed to make such an undertaking
possible. However, I hope to be able to arrange for a professional to undertake a GPR survey
of the property by the summer of 2016.

  • I would be using English measurements (inches and feet) instead of the metric system used

by Kathy Wheeler. I prefer to use those measurements since the builders of the early Junkins
dwelling would have been using the same.

D. Project logistics

a. Archaeological fieldwork

Funding for the archaeological fieldwork would cover my salary as project
archaeologist. My tasks would include overseeing preparation of the Junkins “garrison”
house site for excavation (e.g., laying out a site grid) directing the excavations and
backfilling digging pits at the end of the archaeological field season, and overseeing
processing of the excavated artifacts (post-dig). My archaeological crew would consist of
local volunteers who have worked with me in the past, those who have responded to
“calls” for archaeological field assistants, interested members of the Junkins Family
Association, and students who enroll in a possible fall 2015 mini-course in archaeology
offered by York Adult Education.

I would prepare a brief summary of the 2015 archaeological results by the end of the year
and a more detailed archaeological report during the winter of 2015/2016.

b. Historical research

I would spend one day examining the probate records and deeds stored in the York County
Courthouse, Alfred, Maine. To date, I have collected a number of published deeds and
wills of Robert Junkins and his sons Alexander and Daniel Junkins (dating from 1699 to
1735). This research would focus on those 18th and early 19th century probate records, wills,
and deeds I have yet to examine. The historic data should help me further
my understanding of the external and internal appearance of the Junkins “garrison”
house along with the early owners/occupants’ social-economic standing and place in the
social and commercial worlds of the Scotland neighborhood, York, and the Piscataqua

c. Supplies

I would use this sum to cover some of the costs of photocopying historic documents along
with the purchase field and lab supplies such as magic markers, pencils, Ziploc bags, field
journals, photocopying field forms, nails and spikes.

E. Conclusion

The proposed archaeological investigation offers the opportunity to determine
conclusively whether the site of the Junkins’ “garrison house” is the late 17th century
dwelling of Robert Junkins or the early 18th century of his son Alexander. Beyond this
immediate goal, this research project seeks to delve more deeply into life in Maine,
during the Anglo-Indian hostilities of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, a period that
remains poorly understood by historians and archaeologists. Of particular interest would
be how local residents such as the families of Robert and Alexander Junkins responded to
the ongoing conflict and the frequent fear of attack by Wabanaki and French forces. What
does the archaeological evidence show, if anything, in the internal and external layout
and appearance of the Junkins Cider Hill Road homestead, the daily work routines,
commercial ties, etc. of the early Junkins families that may be connected to the conflictriven
late 1600s and early 1700s? The story of this family can provide further clarity to life
in the Piscataqua region during the conflict-riven late 17th century and early 18th centuries.

Sources Cited

Sargent, William
Will of Robert Junkins, January 2, 1699, Maine Wills 1640-1760, Facsimile of 1887
edition, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1992, 128-129.

Will of Alexander Junkins, February 21, 1735, Maine Wills 1640-1760, 381-383.

Wheeler, Kathleen and Emerson Baker
“Findings from the Upper York River Archaeological Survey, York Institute Museum,

Wheeler, Kathleen
Archaeological Findings from the Phase I Survey of the Alexander Junkins Family
Cemetery, York, Maine, 1990.

Report on Findings from New Construction Monitoring at the Junkins Garrison Site,

York Deeds
Alexander Grant to James Grant, June 5, 1707, Book VII, Brown Thurston
Company, 1892, Folio 97.
Agreement between Alexander and Daniel Junkins, February 9, 1721/22, Book XII,
Bethel, Maine, E.C. Bowler, 1903, Folio 167-168.

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