UNH Anthropology Student Helps Discover Confederate Soldier’s Homestead in Belize

University of New Hampshire undergraduate student John DeGennaro spent last summer in Belize on his first archaeological field research trip. While he was there, he helped identify the homestead of a prominent U.S. Confederate soldier from Alabama who fled the country after the Civil War. Read the news release.


Sophomore John DeGennaro of Plymouth in Belize on his first archaeological field research project helped to discover the homestead of a prominent U.S. Confederate soldier Colin J. McRae from Alabama who initially fled the country to avoid facing war crimes.

DeGennaro, far left, on the Belize River East Archaeology (BREA) project, working with other UNH field school students and researchers at an archaeological site in Belize.

Researchers discovered these ceramics at the archaeological site believed to be the McRae homestead. By analyzing the artifacts, researchers determined that the site dates to the mid-19th century when McRae lived on the land.

DeGennaro (right) and Kerissa Paquette (left) working on the excavation at the McRae homestead site in Belize. The students participated in UNH's first archaeological field school in Belize this summer. Based near the capital city of Belmopan, this intensive four-week program allows students to investigate ancient Maya and colonial archaeological sites in the jungles of eastern Belize River valley.

Pieces of bottle glass were among the artifacts discovered that helped BREA researcher Adam Kaeding and UNH student DeGennaro uncover the time period of the McRae archeological site. Colonial bottle glass has specific diagnostic features that provide clues that help to date the McRae site.

Here DeGennaro (right) and field school student Samantha Woods are being shown by one of the field school teaching assistants how to record excavation data using an iPad.

Some examples of the range of painted colonial pottery found at the McRae site.

Senior researcher Astrid Runggaldier (left) trains DeGennaro in excavation at one of the archaeological sites.

UNH field school students and BREA research team, directed by Prof. Eleanor Harrison-Buck (third from left) For more information about the UNH Archaeological Field School in Belize, contact Prof. Eleanor Harrison-Buck at belize.fieldschool@unh.edu. Learn more about the program.

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