Unearthing the Quarry Town: An Archaeological Inventory of Hurricane Island

Dates: Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22

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 3-day experiential-based program for anyone 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. Participants will take part in all phases of archaeological fieldwork including excavating, screening, documenting discoveries, cleaning and classifying artifacts. 

Our study will focus is the island’s north end. Unlike the others parts of the island where newspaper stories, written accounts, and old photographs document the past, the story of this area is totally absent from the historic record. The limited archaeological work that has previously been conducted in this end of the island indicates occupation from prehistoric through early American time periods. Come and learn about archaeological fieldwork while contributing to the important work of discovering of the island’s past.

If you're an educator, 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 (CEUs)/contact hours 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

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

**Please plan to depart from our mainland office (19 Commercial St, Rockland, ME) for transport out to Hurricane Island on July 20th. The boat will depart from the mainland at 12pm on the afternoon of July 20th, the first day of the course. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure time. Your return transport will depart Hurricane Island at 5pm on the last day of the program, July 22, returning you to the mainland around 6pm. PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY. More information is provided upon registration. Please reach out with questions to registration@hurricaneisland.net or 207 867 6050.**

Previous Reports

Click the links below to read more about the sites and the work of previous programs

2016 Report

2015 Report 



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.