Log In


Reset Password
  • MENU
    Local News
    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    Archaeological study begins at Norwichtown site of proposed Burger King

    Two archaeologists with the firm Historical Perspectives Inc. help with shade as a colleague documents a test pit at their dig at 61-65 Town St. in Norwich. The property, slated to be home to a Burger King fast food restaurant, abuts the historic Norwichtown burial ground and city approval for the project was tied to completion of an archaeological survey of the site. Digging is expected to last most of the week. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    Norwich — Crews from the archaeological firm Historical Perspectives Inc. drilled several test pit holes in the rear of properties at 61, 63 and 65 Town St. on Thursday before construction of a proposed Burger King restaurant on property that abuts a colonial burial ground.

    Developer Amaral Revite was ordered to conduct the archaeological study as a condition of the project approval by the Commission on the City Plan in October 2018. Historic preservation advocates expressed concern about the historic cemetery at the back of the properties.

    Gravestones stand within inches of the stone wall that divides the property, and local historians say that wall was built much later, in 1870, causing concern that it does not mark the accurate edge of the burial ground.

    William Sweeney, local counsel for the Providence-based developer, said Thursday the dig is “phase 1B” of the archaeological study, with phase 1A being a review of written records of the properties, which he said showed no evidence that the burial ground extended beyond the wall.

    The test pits will be focused on the rear portion of the properties to see if there are any archaeological deposits in the area, Sweeney said. “If they find anything, it may or may not lead to further review,” he said.

    The study is expected to be completed in a week, and if nothing significant is found, the developer will proceed with demolishing the three abandoned homes and move forward with site development to construct the Burger King, Sweeney said.

    City Planner Deanna Rhodes visited the property during the test pit work Thursday to examine the start of digging. She told crews that while the study is going on, Amaral could submit building design drawings for review by city building inspectors, who are working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis and are doing plan reviews.

    Along with agreeing to the archaeological dig, which was recommended by the state archaeologist, Amaral Revite reached a settlement with the Norwich Historical Society in November 2018 to redesign the project to allow for a wider construction buffer zone between the restaurant and the burial ground.

    c.bessette@theday.com

    An archaeologist with Historical Perspectives Inc. works in a test pit at 61-65 Town St. in Norwich. The property, slated to be home to a Burger King fast food restaurant, abuts the historic Norwichtown burial ground and city approval for the project was tied to completion of an archaeological survey of the site. Digging is expected to last most of the week. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
    An archaeologist with the firm Historical Perspectives Inc. sifts dirt excavated from a test pit at 61-65 Town St. in Norwich. The property, slated to be home to a Burger King fast food restaurant, abuts the historic Norwichtown burial ground and city approval for the project was tied to completion of an archaeological survey of the site. Digging is expected to last most of the week. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    Post your comment

    We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that does not contribute to an engaging dialogue. Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines. Read the commenting policy.