Monday, July 4, 2011

Digging Deep at the Dutch House

After a long week of excavating, the archeological team from John Milner Associates Inc. has found signs of early occupation in the rear yard of of the Dutch House. Ceramic fragments of Tin and Border Ware as well as thin plate glass are indicative of the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Six of twenty possible test pits have been dug leaving potential for more diagnostic artifacts to be found and assist in answering many questions about the previous occupants of the Dutch House lot. Maps indicate the presence of a house straddling the rear yard of the Dutch House and it's neighbor in the 19th century as well as an 18th-19th century stable. Along with early Dutch artifacts John Milner Associates Inc. hopes to bring light on these early structures and articulate a story about the layering of history in New Castle through a case study of the Dutch House.

The rear yard of the Dutch House will be used as a Native Garden in the near future, filled with trees, foliage and fauna for the public to enjoy. The process of planting as well as the future growth of trees and shrub roots will permanently disturb archeological evidence present in the rear yard. The New Castle Historic Society has called upon John Milner Associates to excavate the rear yard over a two week period. Ground Penetrating Radar (commonly referred to as GPR) used in the rear yard indicate several anomalies that John Milner Associates Inc. has begun to excavate in the form of test pits, square 2.5' x 2.5' holes in the ground. Although the anomalies were believed to be only a few centimeters under the surface much more thorough and deeper excavations have been necessary. Thus far, the holes are turning out to be three feet or deeper. The depths of the test pits are similar to those that were found at the Amstel House but still rather deep for the area.

The progress of the excavations at the Dutch House relies heavily on the support of volunteers. There is always work to do with screening and artifact cleaning. Volunteers this week have already helped enormously. It's your history, come and be a part of its unveiling!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A New Contributor!

We just started a two-week archaeological investigation in the rear yard of the Dutch House property. The work is being done by John Milner Associates. Their summer intern, Mary Jachetti, will be posting occsaionally to this blog to keep everyone up-to-date on what's happening with the dig. Check in frequently to read her updates from the field.

We're also planning a public "Archaeology Day" at the Dutch House on Saturday, July 9. Come out and learn about historical archaeology an see what discoveries are being made - quite literally in our own backyard!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer History Projects

It's been a while since we've had an entry on the blog...we haven't been working on the houses recently but we are just getting started with few really interesting projects...

- We have a Museum Studies intern from the University of Delaware working with us this summer to develop an audio walking tour of the New Castle Historic District. She's just finished her first week here and is recording her progress in a blog for the Museum Studies program...check it out here.

- We're going to be conducting a Phase II archaeological investigation in the rear yard of the Dutch House lot - probably beginning in July. Last fall we had a ground penetrating radar study completed, and that suggests there may be some very interesting features in the yard. Stay tuned for more...

- Finally, we're working with the Newlin Grist Mill to make bricks that will be used to restore the hearth in the Amstel House. We'll be completing all steps of the process ourselves. The project will also start in early July and we hope to fire the bricks on the first Saturday in October up at Newlin.

Check back to learn more about these projects throughout the summer!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wilderness Battlefield Saved!

Great news! Wal-Mart has abandoned its plans to build a SuperCenter on land adjacent to Wilderness Battlefield outside Fredericksburg, VA!

Click here for more information.