‘Finding a Lost Vineyard House’ explores relationship between the Wampanoag tribe and English colonists


Archaeologists and Islanders Richard (Dick) Burt and Dr. James (Jim) B. Richardson III tell the history of more than 10,500 years on Martha’s Vineyard in their new book “Finding a Lost Vineyard House: Archaeology of the John and Experience Mayhew House Site on Martha’s Vineyard,” which they will introduce at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum on Saturday, Sept. 25. The book explores the interrelationship of the Wampanoag with the English colonists from 1642, when Thomas Mayhew Sr. first purchased the right to settle on Martha’s Vineyard, until 1765.

In the 1970s, Dick Burt discovered an intriguing colonial house site in Chilmark. He set to work doing deed research that would prove that the structure was the former home of John and Experience Mayhew, famous missionaries to the Wampanoag. John and Experience were the grandson and great-grandson of Thomas Mayhew Sr. The Chilmark house, which dated from 1672 to 1758, was considered home to John, Experience, their wives, and their combined 16 children.

Dr. James B. Richardson III is an emeritus chief curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Richard L. Burt is an Island archaeologist and historian who has made significant contributions through his research.

Burt and Richardson will debut their book on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 4 pm at Doherty Hall at the M.V. Museum. Admission is $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members. Advanced registration is required; register at mvmuseum.org/house. The book will also be available in the museum’s gift shop.