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Search for the Camp Security stockade -- or high fence -- remains elusive

Written by Teresa Boeckel, York Daily Record | Jul 3, 2015 10:00 AM
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Photo by Kate Penn, York Daily Record / Sunday News

Field assistant Amanda Snyder of Lebanon, left, and Craig Landis of Red Lion scrape dirt from an archeological feature at the Camp Security dig site in Springettsbury Township . Wednesday was the last day of the dig. Senior archaeologist Steve Warfel had been looking for evidence of a high fence -- or stockade -- but it was not found in the 2-acre area where the dig was taking place. "It's a little disappointing because we were hoping to find it," Snyder said.

(Springettsbury) -- The hunt for a high fence -- or stockade -- of a Revolutionary War prison camp in Springettsbury Township will continue.

In the past six weeks, volunteers have dug six trenches that cross a 2-acre area in a field off Locust Grove Road. Two of those trenches are about 350 feet long, senior archaeologist Steve Warfel said.

They were looking for dark stains from where the posts of the fence once stood. The camp is where colonists held British prisoners of war.

While they found some soil stains that looked promising at first, they were not the right shape or depth when soil was taken out of the feature, Warfel said. Those disturbances most likely were erosion gullies, which were filled in with dark soil.

"Unfortunately, I think that we have to conclude at this point that we have not found it, but we have eliminated a very sizeable area," which is close to 2.5 acres, he said.

Carol Tanzola, president of the Friends of Camp Security, said they will continue to search for the stockade.

Here are some other answers to questions:

Q What happened with "boxy" anomalies an electrical conductivity survey showed?

A Those things just didn't pan out, Warfel said.

"That means that there's something going on in the ground, but it's not cultural. It's probably geological, and it's probably deeper in the ground," he said.

Q What else might be done to find the stockade?

A There is another remote-sensing technique that has not been tried. It's ground-penetrating radar, Warfel said.

It's estimated to cost $16,000 for about nine acres, and he would consider it if he can get the service donated by a university or a grant to pay for it. There is no guarantee, though, it's going to work.

"Even if you have that study done, you still have to go back and do exactly what we've been doing here, which is to dig hand-dug trenches to verify whether something is there," he said.

Q Where might you go next?

A Warfel said he'd like to use the ground-penetrating radar before deciding where to look next. Otherwise, his inclination is to see what the rest of the field they have been working in has to offer.

"I feel that this field is positioned very well," Warfel said.

It's a lower-lying field. Historical records have indicated that a village known as Camp Indulgence was on rising ground. A limited dig in 1979 in an upper field revealed artifacts from the camp, but a stockade was not found.

It's not clear yet when the work will continue.

Contact Teresa Boeckel at (717) 771-2031.

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Photo by Kate Penn, York Daily Record / Sunday News

A sample of artifacts collected from the Camp Security dig site in the last six weeks. The top row of items are historic, from the colonial period, the bottom are prehistoric. The historic items from the colonial period included a piece of tea cup, a piece of creamware, and a piece of English flint.

Related

Soil disturbances at Camp Security dig are not evidence of a stockade trench, archaeologist says

Camp Security archaeological dig planned for late summer

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Friends of Camp Security takes out loan to pay for dig; public day planned

York, Gettysburg colleges helping with Camp Security archaeological dig

New Camp Security site has 'boxy' anomalies; dig starts Monday


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

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