submitted to

York Historic District Commission York, Maine


Kathleen Wheeler and Emerson Baker


Two days were spent at the Junkins Garrison site to learn more about the local landmark. Harriet and John Simonds related that some prior archaeological investigation took place some years ago, although the record of that work has not been released to the town of York. We sought to delineate activity areas in the immediate vicinity of the cellarhole to retrieve evidence of the Junkins' family occupation of this site. Seven units (Figure 1) revealed disturbed stratigraphy with a mixture of eighteen- and nineteenth-century diagnostic ceramics. No seventeenth­ century diagnostic materials or deposits were recovered, although some early redwares may be from this period.

Remains were also recovered from within the cellarhole; these consisted largely of a cache of nineteenth-century broken bottle glass, as well as architectural debris such as brick, nails, burned wood, and window glass. The ranges and percentages of artifact types are summarized in Figure 2; it should be noted that we deliberately avoided the collection




of architectural remains such as brick, wood, and window glass. Of interest, though, was the retrieval of nails that might help in the dating of the construction of the wooden structure that stood over the cellarhole.

Researchers are not unanimous in accepting the site as the original homestead of Robert Junkins. Richard Candee believes the Junkins Garrison cape was built early in the eighteenth century, not in the 1670s (personal communication 1991), and Robert Magosci's research sites the homestead of Robert Junkins further west along the old Linscott Road (personal communication 1991). Historical documents put Robert Junkins on a six-acre parcel along the old Road to Newitchewonoc, with the only reference to siting a notation that suggests his homestead was across the highway from Alexander Maxwell. Given the archaeological findings of early eighteenth- and ninetheenth-century materials, it is possible that the earliest housesite was not on the site of the Junkins Garrison burned in 1899. This is consistent with findings in the York Village, where seventeenth-century remnants from historically documented seventeenth-century sites are nearly nonexistent.


The Robert Junkins Garrison site is presently a four-acre parcel demarcated on its northeast border by a fieldstone wall. Just immediately north of this wall is a large hayfield owned by John and Harriet Simonds that formed part of the Grant property. Testing took place here along Transect 12 with opening of nine test pits. All units produced brick and nails, while in six of them, domestic debris was recovered, The site has been named as Grant­ Junkins, owing to the uncertain origin of the materials.

The site is at 60 feet above mean sea level, consistent with the elevation of sites along the south side of Route 91. Soils are well-drained silty clay with thick lenses of sand and silt above a basal clay level. The site stratigraphy was generally simple, with cultural materials deriving mainly from the Stratum I silty clay. The materials appear to date mostly to the first quarter of the nineteenth century, although there was one modern beer bottle whose remains were extracted from the sod level. 

The artifact concentration appeared to be highest about 20 meters south of the property-marking stone wall; beyond this point, artifacts consisted only of architectural debris and did not include any household refuse. The ceramic component was dominated by redware, perhaps deriving from a household farming complex. Given the proximity of the Robert Junkins Garrison cellarhole, it is also possible that the remains originated from this site, although there is a stone wall in 1991 that separates the Grant lot from the Junkins property. Nonetheless it is curious that in testing the area close to the roadway, we found artifacts clustered there. Further testing should move back away from the Junkins property line, to test whether clusters of remains occur closer to the Grant house.