Lithic Ecologies

Dates: August 19-22, 2019

Cost: $500

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:

In this four day course, students will become familiar with the archaeological history of granite production and Wabanaki presence at Hurricane Island as well as the wider coastal environment. Fieldwork will be comprised of demonstrations of Wabanaki stone working techniques as well as nineteenth century granite quarrying and dressing. We will continue to survey and map the island's many remaining anthropogenic features. We will also conduct excavation work on selected locations in order to determine the extent of Wabanaki presence, and also to gain a more nuanced understanding of the lives and habits of the significant granite working population which peaked in the late 1800's, and which has limited historical documentation.

If you are an educator, Hurricane Island would be happy to provide CEUs for this program.


Jeff Benjamin is an archaeologist and artist living and working in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. His work is concerned with the sensory and emotive aspects of American industrialization as antecedent conditions for climate change, and as possible guideposts for egress. He is currently a PhD candidate in archaeology at Columbia University.

Dr. Arthur Anderson is an archaeologist in the Department of Society, Culture and Languages at the University of New England. He studies the protohistoric period on the coast of the Maritime Peninsula, with a focus on material culture.

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

Previous Reports

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

2016 Report

2015 Report