Island Archaeologist hits paydirt in his own backyard

Archaeologist Stephen Harvey holds up the stem of a wine glass found in his backyard. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

Archaeologist Stephen Harvey holds up the stem of a wine glass found in his backyard. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure … particularly if that other man happens to be an archaeologist.

Stephen Harvey, Ph.D, is an Egyptologist who lives on Shelter Island, and, as luck would have it, he has unearthed some pretty interesting finds in his own backyard.

It all began a couple years ago when Harvey hired Darrin Binder to dig a pool behind his historic home on Wade Road.

The home was built in 1788 by Samuel Havens and during the excavation process, Binder’s crew hit pay dirt, so to speak, in the form of an old midden pile in the corner of the site for the new pool.

Though there were no mummies to speak of found at the site, Harvey did come across plenty of other items for an archaeologist to get excited about, including fragments of Colonial-era pottery and glassware, iron and stone tools, a piece of ceramic doll’s head, and broken bottles.

“It all came out of that one trench,” Harvey said. “This is a dream. I’ve been doing archaeology for 35 years, and you don’t often find everything you want.”

Read the rest of this story on the Shelter Island Reporter’s website.