AUGUSTA — The Kennebec Historical Society’s August public presentation “A Tale of Three Privies” will be presented by Leon “Lee” Cranmer at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the Maine State Library, 230 State St.

The presentation looks at the archaeological excavation of privies on three diverse sites, an 18th-century fort, a 19th-century farmstead and a 19th-century urban house. From the large quantity of nearly complete artifacts from these privies, a picture of the lifestyles of the sites’ occupants can be developed along with an understanding of the material culture of the time.

Archaeologists also can determine when these privies were filled in and even speculate as to why they were filled, according to a news release from the historical society.

Cranmer, an historical archaeologist, retired in August 2010 from the staff of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. He has a bachelor of science degree from Stockton University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and Master of Arts in history/historical archaeology from the University of Maine. He has worked in archaeology in Maine for more than 35 years and has conducted archaeology for the state for more than 25 years. Prior to that, he spent two seasons in England doing archaeology.

He has written one book and numerous articles on Maine historical archaeology and is working on another book on Fort Halifax, a French and Indian War period fort in Winslow. He has excavated hundreds of Maine sites for which he has written or co-authored site reports.

Prior to his archaeology career, Cranmer spent seven years in the Navy and is a Vietnam veteran. He lives in Somerville, with his wife Liz.

The presentation, rescheduled from January, is co-sponsored by the Maine State Library and is free to the public; donations will be accepted. The presentation will be followed by some light refreshments.

For more information, call the historical society at 622-7718.


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