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West Parlor Restoration

   The Nye Family Association (NFA), as part of ongoing restoration and repair of the Nye Homestead, decided in 2014 to replace the 20th century flooring in the West Parlor and Front Hall with a more period appropriate material. The Association hired historic renovation specialist Michael Burry to remove the modern flooring, replace sections of the south and west sills that were rotted, and install new flooring. Because the floor would be completely removed, fully exposing what was expected to be the original construction surface, the Association arranged for an archaeological survey. 

   Work began in February 2015 and is expected to be completed during the early summer of 2015.

   After the archaeology report was completed some more interesting items were discovered.  They are shown below.  To see the full archaeology report click on the following link. -->   Full archaeology report


A view of the west parlor showing the new white oak sills in place. The original floor joists sat directly on the ground. Archaeologists Craig Chartier and Dave Wheelock excavated and sifted about 10 inches of soil, yielding hundreds of small artifacts. The new joists will have some space and a vapor barrier under them.
 

Ancient Flax - While cleaning out a rotten floor joist, Dave found the remains of an old rat’s nest. In it was this remnant of combed flax, a simple knot originally intended to hold a circular coil of flax together, Dave believes. Sometime before the 1820s when local flax production ceased, a rat stole the flax from one of the rooms of the Homestead. A rare find.
Button Mold - In the soil adjacent to the front sill this 3 inch piece of schist was found, with an unusual drill hole with a star pattern carved into the bottom, and one edge burnished, as if it had been used for sharpening or polishing. It was a mystery until Craig identified it as a 17th or early 18th century mold for making pewter buttons – another rarity.
 
While digging out under the front hallway stairs, Dave found a section of loose floorboard that appears to have been adjacent to the original hearth – it is un-planed yet foot-worn, and has many small burn marks which he realized were made by the iron feet of hot kettles – there is a distinctive shape to the bottom of kettle feet. He's never seen anything like it.

These objects may seem subtle, but to the historian and archaeologist, they bring our house museum to life – each object is an actual ancient human "imprint", as it were, by someone who lived in the Homested, which we can display and interpret.