Paving the Way for the Future by Digging through the Past - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Paving the Way for the Future by Digging through the Past

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KENT COUNTY, Del. (WBOC) - Building for the future often requires digging into the past.

Right now in central Kent County, just off SR 1, archaeologists are digging through a field. What they're digging for is more than 250 years old.

"What we found out here is an archaeological site that dates approximately to the mid-18th century," said Richard White, an archaeologist with AD Marble & Company.

White says his team has been out at this site for more than a month.

"We're just getting into excavating the features themselves."

They honed in on this half acre from a plot of more than 50 acres. Still, half an acre is a lot to cover.

"After we identify a feature," said Brian Schneider, who was sweeping away layers of dirt. "We'll come in and use trowels and small hand tools to scrape away the ground around the feature."

They're doing this work along Barrat's Chapel Road, because DelDOT plans to build a grade-separated intersection at a nearby stretch of SR 1. When planners want to do anything like that, DelDOT archaeologist David Clarke first has to identify potential archaeological sites that could be impacted.

"We try to avoid them if we can," Clarke said. "If we can't avoid them by moving around the construction, then we mitigate them by excavating the archaeological site."

That's exactly what happened at this site. Clarke says at any given time there are multiple digs happening across Delaware, but this one is unique.

"Because of the very tight time frame of this archaeological site - being from 1740 to 1760," he said. "It's probably one or two structures in a very tight time frame. So, it's almost like a little time capsule we've got here."

It's a time capsule White says is only just starting to reveal its contents and help the team learn who the people who lived here then were.

"At this point we're not really positive who they were. Likely, they were a tenant farmer," said White. "That's why it's important for us to collect these artifacts and determine what their life ways were."

The physical work at the site will last another three weeks. Then it will be two years more before all of the work on this dig is complete.

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