Unearthing the Quarry Town: An Archaeological Inventory of Hurricane Island

Dates: Friday, July 21 - Sunday, July 23

Cost: $350

For our Vinalhaven neighbors interested in joining us we will provide daily transportation to and from Vinalhaven and Hurricane so you can participate but not have to stay overnight.... unless of course you would like to!

Program Content:

Come experience the history of Hurricane!! This 7-day experiential-based program for educators, and others with an interest in basic archaeology, offers a field component, hands-on lab analysis, and the opportunity to engage in authentic research unique to Hurricane Island. The program will provide participants a solid understanding of the process of setting up dig sites, creating an inventory of artifacts, and practical, hands-on experience excavating different sites around Hurricane Island. For teachers, the fieldwork, readings, and group reflections will build a practical understanding of how archaeology can enhance classroom instruction and enable your students to become active, engaged investigators of their past. The program offers professional development Continuing Education Units (CEU) for recertification credits.

Much of the program will focus on continuing the initial archaeological inventory of Hurricane started in 2015, including:

  • Surveying geology & stratigraphy to identify likely sites
  • Mapping site location and dimensions
  • Understanding 4 main types of artifacts: Metals, Glass, Ceramics, and Pipes
  • Cleaning, identifying, and recording artifacts retrieved

It is recommended that participants read In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life, by James Deetz before the program.

About Hurricane Island's Granite Quarry:

By 1826 the quality of Vinalhaven's granite was discovered, which started a 100-year period when the area was one of Maine's largest quarrying centers. The granite quarry on Hurricane Island opened in 1870 and operated until 1914. During that time, the island hosted thousands of people who lived and worked on Hurricane. The remnants of their life can be easily spied all over the island in the form of granite foundations, large iron quarrying equipment, and discarded granite carvings, but no formal inventory has been made to document the smaller artifacts around the island.

 A historic town planning map of Hurricane Island from 1910

A historic town planning map of Hurricane Island from 1910

 1890 photograph of the inside of one of Hurricane's granite carving sheds

1890 photograph of the inside of one of Hurricane's granite carving sheds



After a 38-year career of teaching History and Archaeology in the Brunswick school system Fred Koerber currently makes his livelihood as a lobsterman. An avid historian and environmental advocate, he has served on various public service committees including the Brunswick Recreation and Open Space Task Force and the Comprehensive Planning Committee. In addition, he has been a board member of the Pejepscot Historical Society, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, and Maine Archaeological Society. When not on the ocean, he is often actively engaged with high school and college students in local historic research projects.