Archaeological Objects

c. 19th century

“Archaeology of the African Meeting House: Dig and Discover Project,” (Boston, Massachusetts: The Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, 2007), 10.

University of Massachusetts Boston


The majority of the bones found at the African Meeting House were from cattle, pigs, and sheep. Additionally, the cattle and sheep bones found were from the body rather than the head and feet, while pig bones were found in more normal anatomical proportions. This could be an indication of the cuts of meat commonly sold in the markets of the time as well as the cuts of meat preferred by the community. In particular, the sheep bones found represent the meatiest parts of the animal. The ability to purchase these cuts of meat reflects a level of economic success within the community consistent with the middle class.

Questions to Consider

  1. What do these bone samples tell us about the eating habits of the community at Smith Court?
  2. Bones of many different animals can be seen here. How many of these animals do you think might have been consumed in the same meal? On what occasions do you think certain animals may have been eaten?

Related Articles

Smith Court Stories

Smith Court Stories is a collaborative project of the Museum of African American History and Boston African American National Historic Site – a unit of the National Parks of Boston.

The creators of Smith Court Stories acknowledge that Smith Court in Beacon Hill sits on the historical Massachusett tribe territories.