Special Edition              Day 2              May 8, 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 interpret 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 Two - Getting in the Ground

Shovel Test Pits
The second day of the dig made some real progress. After checking once again the redisked ground in

5-8trenc.jpg - 28936 Bytes
front of the old house, the team got down to a series of shovel test pits (STPs). They placed several rows of STPs: a row of them in front 5-8brick.jpg - 14370 Bytesof the house, a row on the slope beside the house and some down the driveway 5-8bric2.jpg - 9990 Bytestoward the hardsurface road. In some cases they enlarged the test pits when something interesting appeared in the hole. One STP along the driveway revealed two bricks apparently once used as pavers or as a foundaton for some kind of building. Across the driveway from this hole the ground was obviously strewn with gravel and shale as though someone was trying to make the floor of a shed or possibly a place for parking or other special usage.

Marking the Artifacts
5-8bag1.jpg - 19140 BytesAs the team collected more and more artifacts they needed more time to 5-8bag2.jpg - 10886 Bytes identify and store them. Dr. McBride spent some time making sure that everything was properly marked and placed in bags. One can see that the bags, either paper bags or plastic bags, were marked with all the information necessary to identify exactly where the artifact was found and to show individual indentification. Once the items are taken to the laboratory and cleaned they will be marked with a special identifying number and listed in the database of artifacts. Then they will be returned to The Fort Edwards Foundation. Some of them will be put on display in the Visitor Center.


School Tour
5-8bus.jpg - 3676 BytesTuesday was a special day at the site because The Foundation hosted about seventy fifth grade students from the Romney area. As part of its mission to educate the public about this important colonial Hampshire County site, The Foundation has invited every fifth grade student in Hampshire County to come visit us while the archaeologists are at work. Of course, there will be public tours available on Saturday, May 12th, but these lucky students have the day all to themselves.

When they arrived the group was divided into three smaller groups so they could have three presentations on the fort site and the work that is going on.

5-8hall.jpg - 14530 Bytes 5-8jean.jpg - 14332 Bytes

5-8charl.jpg - 36501 Bytes

Charles Hall, the President of The Foundation, gave one group a talk on the history of the site while Jean Kesner, a teacher from Romney Elementary School who has worked at some very important archaeological sites, gave a presentation on the science of archaeology. The third group was treated to a fun tour of the archaeological work with Charlie Parker, The Foundation's Vice-President.

5-8grp1.jpg - 38485 Bytes
Everyone appeared to have had a wonderful time!

5-8plast.jpg - 22019 Bytes
Uncovering old trenches
When the School groups left work continued at the site. One of the important activities was searching for a portion of Dr. Gardner's trenches that were dug in 1990. This photo shows Keith finding the plastic that Dr. Gardner covered his work with. This is a technique that affords some protection to the areas opened in the original project and helps workers who come along years later to easily find the earlier work. Dr. McBride will now be able to look at the feature that Dr.Gardner said "might" be a stockade wall. Then the present team can see if they can find similar features at other places.

If you look closely you can see Keith is point with his trowel to the clear plastic covering the bottom of the earlier trench.


Artifacts of the Day
5-8artf.jpg - 18888 Bytes Among the artifacts discovered today were four impressive items. The long white object is the stem of a clay pipe. Judging from the size of the stem and the diameter of the hole in it, this probably dates from 1750-1800. The larger object on the upper right is glass from a gin bottle that has been corroded in the ground turning it a wonderful color. It is 18th century glass. The object lower center is lead glazed redware also 18th century. The small fragment is painted delf dating 1700-1780. Once these are cleaned and studied in the lab we may learn more about them.

Volunteers of the Day
Today we had three volunteers who helped us workat the site.5-8vols1.jpg - 35453 Bytes   5-8vols2.jpg - 17433 Bytes
Ruth Berkeridge and Mary Sears, long-time supporters who need no introduction, helped with screening the dirt that was taken from the shovel test pits. As they sifted the dirt through the small screen, the artifacts were left on the screen. Jim Lancia, an artist who lives in North River Mills and paints military history subjects, also helped today. He also impressed the kids with what a healthy lifestyle filled with lots of exercise can do for a ninety-pound weakling. We also thank Becky Moore for stopping by after school to help. Thank you all for assiting in this important project.


Go to: May 9th report

    <<--Back to Main Archaeology page

This site optimized for 800x600 resolution.
Last updated: May 19, 2001
© 2001 The Fort Edwards Foundation  All rights reserved.