J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Archeological Discoveries at Valley Forge

Atlas Obscura just reported on a striking discovery at Valley Forge. Specifically, on property next to Valley Forge National Park, when Daniel M. Sivilich (author of Musket Ball and Small Shot Identification, discussed here) was overseeing an archeology dig for the Battlefield Restoration & Archaeological Volunteer Organization (B.R.A.V.O.).

Quickly, one of the volunteers, who use metal detectors to locate artifacts and guide excavations, located a nine-pound cannonball hidden underneath a walking path. “He was so excited,” says Sivilich. “But he was the man of the day for about five minutes.” Bill Hermstedt, a long-time volunteer and charter member of BRAVO, also found something new—a bayonet. And then another. The signal from the detector told him that there was a lot more metal down there.

When archaeologists methodically opened the ground, they found a cache of 30 bayonets, stacked together—a remarkable find for a Revolutionary War encampment.
Though the bayonets stand out among the artifacts discovered at this site, the archaeologists and BRAVO volunteers made other intriguing finds there as well. There was a musket ball that had been turned into a die with Roman numerals on its faces, and a particularly rare U.S.A. uniform button featuring stylized lettering and the year 1777. Only a handful of other such buttons have been found in the archaeological record.
The photo above was taken by Glen Gunther, and comes courtesy of B.R.A.V.O. and Atlas Obscura.

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