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Abstract

Excavations and ground penetrating radar at Gore Place in Waltham, Massachusetts, uncovered part of an early 19th-century greenhouse (ca. 1806 to the early 1840s) constructed by Christopher and Rebecca Gore. Documentary, archaeological, and geophysical data suggest that the greenhouse was a formal space intended to display exotic plants and that it was built in the relatively new lean-to style, with a tall back wall and a short front wall. The artifact assemblage included tools and small finds related to the greenhouse operation, as well as the remains of at least 149 planting pots. The greenhouse was constructed during a period of intense interest in agricultural experimentation by members of the Massachusetts commercial and political elite, including Gore. Scholars have argued that these men used the positive associations of agriculture to offset some of the contemporary negative connotations of commerce. This article examines the greenhouse in the light of this scientific agricultural movement but also argues that the greenhouse was an extension of the social space of the house and posits that Rebecca Gore may have played a significant role in managing it.

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