Thanks to our unseasonably snowy weather, the city of Boston’s dig at the Malcolm X House in Roxbury is on hold right now. But the team working the site has already found artifacts they say shed new light on the home the former Malcolm Little shared with his sister Ella and his nephew Rodnell.

The dig at the Malcolm X House tends to elicit two quick reactions. "Cool, Malcolm X!" And then,"Yeah, but what are they gonna find in Malcolm X's yard?" According to city archaeologist Joe Bagley, they've already found a lot.

“There was actually a peach tree on the property in the backyard. We’re actually finding the pits from the tree itself. But we were also able to ask Rod about one of the plates that we found and he said that his mom actually made peach cobbler in a specific bowl. And we actually found fragments of that bowl,” said Bagley.

Rod is Rodnell Collins, Malcolm X’s nephew, who still lives here. Bagley says seemingly mundane items like these are activating Collins’ long-lost memories, which then furnish a fuller picture of Malcolm X’s Boston years,  during which he went from small-time crook to prison inmate to Nation of Islam convert.

“This is one of the rarest opportunities for an archaeologist, to actually go up to somebody who experienced this site first person to actually get the personal story and personal history from these things,” said Bagley. He later added, “We can add the artifacts to that story and get even more details about what it was like to grow up in Roxbury in the 40s as a black family.”

As Malcolm X’s nephew.

As Malcolm X himself.

Also unearthed in the dig: items far older than anything Bagley expected to find.

“We weren’t expecting there to be any sort of evidence of a house or some sort of domestic place in this property until the mid 19th century and later but what we are seeing in the ground is a lot of household debris, stuff you would find normally associated with a kitchen, turning out in a place, as far as we know, that was undeveloped until 1870.”

Which could mean there was another building here that’s been forgotten, or that debris from somewhere else was dropped here for an unknown reason. And that’s not the only mystery Bagley and his team have identified. A radar survey of the grounds revealed what Bagley describes, somewhat ominously, as a “red blob.”

When the dig resumes, Bagley could get an answer, or just another set of questions.