Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Archaeologists Have Discovered a Very Naughty Puritan in Boston's Past

Boston is a goldmine for urban archaeologists. The city's history goes back hundreds of years, and construction projects often unearth caches of historical items that are have been almost perfectly preserved. Such is the case with a buried outhouse, which revealed the naughty life of the lady who used it.


As this NOVA video explains, scientists have uncovered the secrets of a woman who lived in late 17th century Boston — by looking at the contents of her outhouse. No, that's not as smelly as it sounds. Like many people of her era, she used her outhouse as both a trash heap and a bathroom — as a result, its preserved contents tell us a lot about her life. For example, she wore lace, which was expressly forbidden for Puritan women. And she owned a bowling ball, which was illegal in Boston at the time.

Basically, this Puritan woman was a rule-breaker, and thanks to urban archaeology, we've learned about her life in a truly unexpected way.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


A bowling ball? You mean... sh-she put her fingers... in the holes?

Oh, my. I think I need to lie down.