Last August a team of archaeologists from Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, traveled to Lowell and joined with a group of students from UMass Lowell to conduct an excavation in front of St Patrick’s Church. The purpose of the dig was to search for artifacts left by the city’s earliest Irish residents.
This coming Thursday, March 10 at 7 pm in Room 222 of the UML O’Leary Library, Colm Donnelly, the director of the Center for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queens, UML professor Frank Talty and St Patrick’s historian Dave McKean will participate in a panel discussion about the project and will display the artifacts uncovered last summer. The event is free and the public is invited.
Projects like this are particularly important for understanding the everyday lives of people long ago. In the past, members of the working class often lacked the education to create written records of their life experiences and those who had the education were too busy working to survive to write letters and keep diaries. Those activities were the domain of the upper classes. Lacking documentary evidence, historians are left to interpret the “stuff” left behind by the working class. This Thursday’s presentation will provide a great example of this process.