A portion of the Hooe Dependency Site (foreground) in Manassas National Battlefield Park before intersection improvements began. (Douglas Hembrey)
During the summer of 1999, archeologists from the University of Maryland, working under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, conducted a Phase I reconnaissance survey and a Phase II site examination at the intersection of Routes 29 and 234 in Manassas, Virginia—in the heart of Manassas National Battlefield Park. The work was done in advance of intersection improvements to be carried out by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and fulfilled the legal mandate of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), as amended.
Archeologists found three sites. At the first site, artifacts were too scattered and fragmented to allow archeologists to associate them with a specific household. The second site did not contain enough potential information to merit further research. But the third site, named the Hooe (pronounced who) Dependency after the family who owned the land during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, has high research potential and may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Your Interpretive Task
This Highlighted Case Study takes you through the process that archeologists experienced as they worked with the Hooe Dependency Site. Questions addressed are:
- Why should we even care about this site?
- What does the law have to do with this project?
- Why did archeologists decide to dig there?
- What did the archeologists actually do?
- What do broken dishes, rusty nails and oyster shells really tell us about the people who lived at this site?
- What happens next?
Use What You Know
Your task is to Use What You Know and decide how you would interpret the Hooe Dependency Site with the public.