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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: June 27th, 2013 in Archaeology Updates US301

Versar, Inc. has begun the work of writing up the Polk Tenant Site (7NC-F-111) identified in 2009 and then carefully excavated by the archaeologists at Richard Grubb and Associates.  The site includes the archaeological remains of a tenant or farm worker’s house that may have been part of the nearby C. Polk Estate.  It is located along the present path of US Route 301 west of Middletown near the Delaware/Maryland state line.  We know from archival research that the site was part of a farm run by members of the Evertson, Cyrus Polk, and William Taylor families during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Important features found by archaeologists at the site include a cellar, brick foundations, and a brick-lined well. 

In addition to writing up the site archaeology, Versar will be conducting a special study on wells in Delaware. Several of the sites along the Route 301 corridor had very well preserved wells, and while wells have been excavated at many sites across the state, there is still a lot we don’t know about these important features. Creating a synthesis of this feature type from across the state will provide an opportunity to expand what we know about how wells were built and used.

To do this, over the course of the next year or so, Versar archaeologists and historians will gather information on previously excavated wells from all over Delaware.  Some of the information to be collected will include the shape of wells that have been found, the methods and materials used to construct them, and where the wells occur relative to houses, barns or other structures.  We will also examine the methods archaeologists use to excavate wells.  We will summarize what is known about wells in Delaware and create a research tool that other archaeologists will be able to use to see how wells they find compare to what has been found before.  Our work began this month with a review of archaeological reports written for DelDOT.  So far, we have found more than 50 wells that we will be including in our study.