On Tuesday morning, October 24, Boston City Archeologist Joe Bagley and Funerary Archeologist Jane Rousseau examined one of the 37 tombs in the Old North Church Crypt.

In preparation of the 2018 restoration work that will take place in the crypt as part of Old North 300, a campaign to restore and preserve the Old North Church & Historic Site, Bagley and Rousseau examined the inside of the tomb and door, looking at the contents of the tomb and how best to recover the tombs during future restoration. Construction workers were on hand to pry the door of the tomb off, allowing Bagley and Rousseau to investigate the contents inside for the first time since 1912.


Inside the tomb, Bagley and Rousseau found wood shavings, at least 20 adult and infant coffins, skeletal remains, and written pages. The most unexpected, but fitting, finding given the church setting was a page from the Bible of Luke Chapter 24, better known as the Resurrection Story.

Bagley and Rousseau will further examine the contents of the tomb and make a report on their findings to better inform future crypt work. Visitors to the church can discover the crypt for themselves when they take Old North’s Behind the Scenes or Bones & Burials tour, both offered daily. For more information visit oldnorth.com.


  1. Nothing was desecrated. Nothing inside the tomb was touched. We opened the vault to determine how to best preserve the brick vaults so the occupants can continue to Rest In Peace. After 200 years in a damp New England basement, the bricks and mortar need some TLC.

  2. “Desecration” – Seriously? Did you not read the article? It very clearly states that this work is part of a project to restore and preserve the Old North Church site. I can guarantee you that the City Archaeologist and his counterpart, a Funerary Archaeologist who specializes in this type of work, are certainly not “rummaging through” remains. In fact, according to other articles on this, there are no plans to enter the tomb, no plans to move any of the coffins to identify remains, and all efforts are being made to leave everything as intact as possible.


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