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Delaware Department of Transportation

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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: August 6th, 2012 in Archaeology Updates US301

Boy, we are having fun now! This week’s activities at the Houston-LeCompt site comprised of creating a full site plan map and beginning feature excavation. The location of each of our 250+ features was captured, through the use of a total station (a digital transit), and the data was then used to draft a field map. Later, this same raw data will be used to generate a CAD-based plan of the entire site. What was just a random group of circles, squares and postholes magically transformed on paper to reveal building footprints, refuse disposal areas, and fence lines. Amazing! Different occupations are beginning to appear through the physical remains, including several dwellings, outbuildings, and three large circular features in different areas of the site that may be a well, cistern, and privy. Auger tests prove that each of these three features are indeed quite deep and contain an abundance of artifacts and architectural debris, but more excavation will help decipher their use. This is where the good stuff lives!
Johnie Sanders (left) and Kevin McClosky (right) begin to investigate the root cellar.

As we continue to excavate the site, we are fortunate that our close proximity to Boyd’s Corner Road renders this site extremely accessible.  We had a DelDOT-sponsored media day on Wednesday, August 1st, attended by several newspaper, radio and television reporters. In addition to reporters, we have had many volunteers and visitors, ranging from those who just want to tour the site to others who want to get down and dirty! The young and the young at heart have come out to help us trowel and screen, and each has had a good time finding treasures. We encourage others living in the Middletown area to send us an email to arrange for a visit ( We are working for another five weeks, and we would love to have you!

Dovetail archaeologist Morgan MacKenzie (right) works with volunteers at the Houston-LeCompt site.

Dovetail archaeologist Morgan MacKenzie (right) works with volunteers at the Houston-LeCompt site.