Special Edition            Day 10            May 17, 2001


The Fort Edwards  Archaeologist

Unearthing the Story of Joseph Edwards's Home and Fort    


Report on the Archaeological Excavations at Fort Edwards, home site of Joseph
Edwards and a French and Indian War frontier fort of Col. George Washington.

This archaeological excavation is part of the ongoing project of The Fort Edwards Foundation of Capon Bridge, West Virginia, to preserve, protect and iterpret the home site and fort site at Joseph Edwards's land grant on the banks of the Cacapon River in Hampshire County, West Virginia. This site represents both an early settler's home of the second quarter of the eighteenth century and a French and Indian War fort in Col. George Washington's chain of forts protecting the Virginia frontier. The excavation is under the direction of Dr. Stephen McBride of Wilbur Smith Associates of Lexington, KY. This page is one of a series of reports on the work.


Day Ten - We Have a Fort!

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Is it Really There?
The tenth and last day began with everyone checking on the feature we found yesterday. We just wanted to make sure it did not disappear overnight or that it had not been our imagination yesterday making us think we had a bastion like feature. Dr. McBride and Greg began the process of cleaning more area around the feature so we could see where its ends went.



More Test Probes
Our volunteers got back to work on the STPs and enlarged probes which had given us such nice artifacts over the last few days.

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One might dub those STPs "conversation pits" because the volunteers have such a congenial time working on them and swapping stories.


Covering the Map
While most workers were digging deeper or expanding their work, Kurt was busy getting it all on the map. With some help from Jim, he was precisely noting every location of a feature or artifact and storing the information in the survey instrument memory so that later he can download it and create a site map with everything on it.
517map1.jpg - 9798 Bytes517map2.jpg - 14423 Bytes517map3.jpg - 8017 BytesThese picture show Jim holding the target that is placed on the feature. First, he carefully centers the target on the feature. Then he levels the target by centering the bubble in the level by his right hand. Finally, he looks through the viewer window to insure he has the target mirror pointed toward Kurt and the survey instrument. Then Kurt takes a sighting and the survey instrument does all the rest. The location is precisely recorded.


What's In the Hole?
The features that Kurt was mapping included all kinds of remnants of human occupation.

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The rocks protruding from the wall of the trench may indicate a foundation. The dark feature on the right is unknown, but shows us that we may have to come back sometime and enlarge this feature to find out what it is.
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The orange mark on the left indicates something was burned at high temperature. The mark on the right is very distinct and probably too large to be a post mark. Guess we still have many questions to answer.


Checking Soil Type
517soil1.jpg - 17372 BytesCathy seems to have no more features to draw so here she is checking the soil type from a test probe. She has a sample of the soil on her trowel and is comparing it to color samples in the book. This way she can make better notes on what soils are at the site and where they are located.
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Adrenalin Rush
517high.jpg - 7870 BytesBack at the bastion feature the excitement was rising. Everyone gathered around as Dr. McBride took an elevated ride on our special purpose, archaeological, photographic, agricultural implement. The Case 485 was rolled up to the trench where Dr. McBride, Greg and Keith had been busy expanding their trench to expose more of this exciting feature. Now it was time to photographic it and let everyone have a look. From the elevated tractor bucket one could clearly see the feature.

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This composit photo shows a stockade trench running from a dark feature in the517-39d.jpg - 2681 Bytes lower left corner at about a 45 degree angle up toward the top of the picture. It then makes a sharp turn back and runs toward the bottom right of the photo. Then it makes another turn and goes toward the upper right of the picture disappearing in the dirt just before the center right edge of the picture. This configuration is somewhat reminiscent of a style of fort drawn by Benjamin Franklin during the French and Indian War as shown in the drawing above right. Note: this drawing is not of our feature; it simply shows the use of bastions in the center of walls rather than at the corners as as they were used in Pennsylvania.
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This picture has lines drawn to make the outline more discernable. The red dotted lines enclose the stockade trench. The green dotted lines are the edge of what appears to be a basement. There are large stones nearby that seem to be some sort of foundation wall. It will take more work to figure the relationships between these various features.

It is important to remember that there are no narrative descriptions and no drawings of any of Col. Washington's forts guarding the Virginia frontier during the French and Indian War showing exactly what they looked like when constructed. (The only drawing that exists is of Col. Washington's headquarters fort, Fort Loudoun in Winchester which Washington designed and personally supervised.) We do have instructions for the design of Virginia Regiment forts, but no instructions for anything except some details at settler's forts like Pearsall's. There are no orders or narratives for anything at Edwards's fort. What you see here is the first sight anyone has had in the last two hundred and fifty years of any design fragment of one of the settler's forts. That is why we are so excited about this discovery! This was first seen today, May 17, 2001, in Capon Bridge, West Virginia.

You see it here on www.fortedwards.org


Late Breaking News
The Dig May Be Extended

Because of this exciting discovery of this fragment of stockade wall and bastion, The Fort Edwards Foundation is considering extending its contract with Wilbur Smith Associates so we can do further investigation of these features. Nothing is final at this time. Please Stay Tuned. Check back regularly. Send more money!


Artifacts of the Day
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Today we want to not only show you some artifacts, but show you how they were found. When one of the backhoe trenches was cleaned by hand we found this collection. The redware bowl with handle is perhaps the largest artifact we have found. It was lying near piece of a "case bottle" or gin bottle, so named because its square shape fits into a storage case. Nearby was the neck of another bottle which, because part of the neck is still intact, can be easily dated. The item nearby under the rock is an animal bone.



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Volunteers of the Day
517vol1.jpg - 33047 BytesOur new Volunteers of the Day were Mike and Judy Rose of North River Mills. We do owe them an apology for not letting them know that the work day started later than advertised. They were real early birds. 517vol2.jpg - 20028 Bytes







Ginny Householder stopped by again so we got her picture this time. Greg Adamson enjoyed his Saturday stint that he returned. Isabel Plowright was back at it again, and, of course, Jim Cawley is just too excited to quit before the last curtain. Jake Wysopal was still trying to decide whether to change his major from computer science to history (or maybe we liked him so much we were trying to get him to change). Again, we thank you all. Without supporters like you all, we could not get along.
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We must also welcome a visit from Dave Pancake, our long time supporter and Board member who brought Harold Simmons, ISTEA Grant administrator for the WVDOT. We welcomed the opportunity to show him around and talk about the funding which is providing for this archaeological project. His office oversees our grant money on this project.

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