On Friday, February 15, members of the Historic Triangle Chapter of the Archeology Society of Virginia worked with archaeologists from the Fairfield Foundation to survey a historic site noted on 18th and 19th century maps. A structure, perhaps a dwelling or barn, was indicated on a map drawn in 1781 by a French engineer who was recording shelters where French troops could be housed after the Seige of Yorktown. Another map from 1818 included the name George Morris on the York County property, now a county park. Morris was free black tenant who paid rent to Nathaniel Burwell.
During the archaeological survey, the area of interest was marked at 25-foot intervals creating a grid over the site. A shovel-test pit was dug at each point on the grid. Soil from the pit, approximately 1 foot in diameter, was screened for artifacts, collected for later analysis in the archaeology laboratory. Each shovel test pit extends down through topsoil layers until undisturbed subsoil is reached. In Tidewater, Virginia, the distance is usually no more than a foot.
The crew of professional and avocational archaeologists working at the Morris site dug and screened over 50 shovel test pits during the all-day dig. Artifacts discovered included bricks, nails, glass, metal implements, and 18th- and 19th-century pottery. They confirm that the now heavily-wooded site was once occupied and perhaps used as a farmstead.
The Historic Triangle Chapter is one of 16 local Archeology Society of Virginia chapters across the state. Made up of professionals and volunteers, chapters work to promote the study of archaeology and anthropology and ensure proper conservation and preservation of Virginia's past. The public is welcome to attend chapter meetings to learn more from presenters. The groups' meetings are held on fourth Wednesdays monthly at 7 pm in the Community Room at Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg, 1500 Commonwealth Avenue. Membership in the Archeology Society of Virginia is required for volunteers to participate in professionally-supervised excavation opportunities in the Historic Triangle area.
York County Parks and Recreation works with the Fairfield Foundation and the Historic Triangle ASV Chapter to create opportunities for public exploration and professional documentation of York County's historically rich landscape.
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