1700s Privy Discovered at Old Gym Site

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Seacost Gym Privy
Kathleen Wheeler, director of Independent Archeological Consulting, at right, Maya Carter, left, and Marika Labash, center, work to uncover artifacts from a privy during a salvage dig at the site of the former Connie Bean gymnasium. Photo: Ioanna Raptis

In a dig-site in Seacoast, New Hampshire where the old Connie Bean gymnasium once stood, an archaeological salvage project has unearthed an outhouse dating to the mid-1700’s. Inside, they found dozens of pieces of broken glassware thought to have been from wine or case bottles used to transport liquor.

Privies often served as trash cans, with people tossing many different types of materials into them.

“Privies are some of archaeologists’ treasure troves,” said archaeologist Kate McCourt, showing the broken pieces of creamware ceramics and glass bottles they found during the dig Thursday.

Some of the recovered ceramic sherds also display signs of having been burnt, leading her to to wonder if they are from the Great Fire of Portsmouth in 1813.

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