"A stately roof to shelter them": An historical archaeological investigation of the Turner family of eighteenth-century Salem, Massachusetts

Lorinda Beth Rodenhiser Goodwin, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation represents the first archaeological investigation of the Turner house in Salem, Massachusetts, popularly known as the "House of the Seven Gables." The site was occupied by English settlers as early as 350 years ago, and was used by Native Americans for some time before that. The house that is presently standing was built by Captain John Turner, a merchant in the intercoastal and West Indian trade. Three successive generations of Turner families lived in the house through 1782, leaving an intriguing legacy of artifacts and documentary data. This work focuses on the Turner families, specifically within the context of eighteenth-century Salem, during the development of the city before the China trade. Through the employment of a chronological narrative approach, this study suggests a method for merging the archaeological information with the documentary evidence to reconstruct an interpretation of life on the site. Such an approach allows the seamless incorporation of other research that has focussed on the site. This project adds to the corpus of information on New England historical archaeological sites, and will provide the basis for a cultural study of eighteenth-century Salem, incorporating not only the history of the family and house, but also contemporary perceptions of the site as they have changed over time.

Subject Area

Archaeology|American studies

Recommended Citation

Goodwin, Lorinda Beth Rodenhiser, ""A stately roof to shelter them": An historical archaeological investigation of the Turner family of eighteenth-century Salem, Massachusetts" (1993). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9321395.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9321395

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