Welcome back! Archaeological work continued at the Armstrong-Rogers site last week, with the team from Dovetail completing their test units and identifying several exciting features. The video clip below features Kerri Barile, Dovetail’s President, discussing the history of the site, the archaeological process, and the next steps of the investigation. In particular, note the condition of the site and the topsoil; it will look much different next week!
Archaeologists have great fun uncovering information in the ground, but historians get to uncover hidden information in the written record. Primary source records—deeds, federal census records, court records, probate record, historic maps, warrants and surveys, mortgages and tax assessments—all shed light on the people that lived on these sites. The Delaware Public Archives held a plethora of information leading us to learn more about the occupants of the Armstrong-Rogers archaeological site. What a treasure trove it was! Dovetail Cultural Resource Group historian Danae Peckler, building upon archival research of previous investigations of the site, was able to augment the property’s chain of title with information about the owner’s lives and their use of the land. Created in 1905 by the General Assembly, the Delaware Public Archives (or, DPA) is one of the oldest public archives programs in the country. The archives hold more than 95,000 cubic feet of government records and historical documents, dating from the seventeenth century. Can you image looking through all of those records? Yikes! However, we were able to find the information we needed thanks to the well-managed collections, facilities and staff at the archives! If you are a Delaware resident, or have ancestors from the state, a trip to the facility, or a look at their web-site, is well worth your time. Stay posted as Dovetail archaeologists and historians piece together the story of the people that lived at the Armstrong-Rogers site.