Underground radar helps uncover 500 more artifacts at Fort Stanwix

As a result of last year’s archeological study at Fort Stanwix National Monument, approximately 500 artifacts were discovered, the site has announced.

Last summer, the Division of Cultural Resources at Fort Stanwix began a long-term archeological resource study to determine the best procedures for preserving the park’s buried cultural resources. The initial field season included a survey of the west lawn area of the park. Six volunteers provided over 500 volunteer hours between May 25 and Aug. 7 during which shovel test pits were excavated. The Division partnered with the Public Works Cultural Resources Division of Fort Drum Army Base in Watertown in order to use ground-penetrating radar to detect cultural anomalies below the ground surface.

The survey was designed to assess the condition of buried cultural resources, determine what impacts surface activities may have on these resources and gather information in order to make more informed decisions regarding preservation management at the park. Keith Routley, chief of cultural resources at the park, stated, "Using ground penetrating radar and identifying preservation needs will help the park meet compliance requirements, saving time and resources in the future."

Among the artifacts discovered were a few 18th century ceramic sherds and possible wine bottle fragments, and several 19th century ceramics, pharmaceutical glass, and kaolin clay pipe stems. These artifacts have been cleaned, analyzed and added to the museum collection at the fort.

"We learned a lot about the integrity of the site," said Amy Roache-Fedchenko, museum specialist and project archeologist. "One of the benefits of doing this type of archeological investigation is that it provides more information on how we can better preserve what we have."

Further investigations will continue this summer with more radar surveys in other areas of the park.

Fort Stanwix National Monument is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the park is free. For more information call the park at 338-7730 or visit www.nps.gov/fost.