Date of Award


Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


American New England Studies

First Advisor

Ardis Cameron

Second Advisor

Lynn M. Kuzma Ph.D


Legro family, archaeological excavations, funerary hardware, Rochester, New Hampshire


In September 2009, archaeologists from Independent Archaeological Consulting, LLC (IAC) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire completed the disinterment of the Legro family burial ground, encountering the remains of four adults and seven children. The burial ground was once located in a quiet corner of the Legro family farm in Rochester, (Strafford County) New Hampshire. Modern highway construction drastically altered the historic landscape , leaving the burial ground isolated within the Exit 15 off ramp alongside NH Route 16. When proposed highway construction required relocation of the burial ground, the subsequent archaeological excavations resulted in the discovery of a myriad of burial treatments spanning the dynamic period between 1800 and 1865 leading up to the development of the modern funerary industry. Analysis of the Legro funerary hardware assemblage in terms of material culture provided historic archaeologists with a unique case study to demonstrate how an increase in hardware complexity parallels a shift in mortuary consumer behavior. In addition, the shift in material culture coincides with the transition from home based burial practices to a reliance on professionals trained to manage the new American way of death.


This thesis is restricted to USM access only.