Free Public Archaeology Digs at New Quarter Park, September 14 and 15

The public is invited to register to participate in free public archaeological digs at York County's New Quarter Park on Thursday, September 14, and Friday, September 15. Participants can work alongside professional archaeologists and trained volunteers who will be leading the digs, sharing the history of the site, and answering questions. Registrants should sign up for one of forty (40) three-hour time slots by emailing their name, contact information, preferred date, and 3-hour morning or afternoon session to fairfield@fairfieldfoundation.org.

Since November 2013, Fairfield Foundation archaeologists have been leading twice-yearly public archaeology digs at New Quarter. The digs involve volunteers in hands-on historical research. Participation with historians and archaeologists enhances public understanding of local history and culture as it is revealed by the artifacts left behind. Dr. Dave Brown and Thane Harpole, historical archaeologists and co-directors of the Fairfield Foundation, have recovered a wealth of artifacts from the property that require processing and analysis. The central site contains two of ten structures on the New Quarter Park property, hinted at by a French map drawn in 1781 and 1782 following the Siege at Yorktown. Among many other finds, the public archaeology digs at New Quarter have revealed a long-forgotten manor house and debris related to the life of a family of means and the enslaved Africans serving them.

Dr. Brown and Mr. Harpole plan to lead another dig for the public at the current site in the spring of 2018. They will then investigate another potential structure at New Quarter Park for conducting public digs beginning in the fall of 2018. This ongoing program at the park has been supported by the Fairfield Foundation, York County, the York County Historical Museum, the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society, and the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia. Founded in 2000 with a focus on archaeology and education at Fairfield, the family seat of the Burwell family, the Fairfield Foundation has grown by developing innovative educational programs, a dedicated crew of certified volunteers, and partnerships that document and expand colonial Virginia scholarship. Headquarters are located in the Center for Archaeology, Preservation, and Education (CAPE) at the restored Edge Hill Service Station, located on Main Street in Gloucester Courthouse. To learn more, visit www.FairfieldFoundation.org.

York County's New Quarter Park is located at 1000 Lakeshead Drive adjacent to the Queen's Lake neighborhood. The 545-acre park blends hiking, mountain biking, water access for fishing and kayaking, and picnic shelters, as well as amenities and educational programs into an old-growth forest environment on Queen's Creek. For more information, call the park at (757) 890-5840, the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) office at (757) 890-3500, or visit the PRT website at www.yorkcounty.gov/parksandrec.

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