Human Impact on the Landscape

July 17, 2013 Posted by: Matt Kalos
Everyday visitors stop by the excavations and ask us, "What have you found?" In terms of artifacts we have found very little, so our typical one-word answer is simply "nothing" or "dirt." Yet such a statement is not entirely true, and we generally follow those short answers with a more in-depth discussion about the reasons for our excavations as well as how archaeologists are able to "read" the soils in order to understand the stories that the dirt can tell. 

Whether we recognize it or not, humans have affected many landscapes. In previous blog entries, we discussed how the construction of interpretive huts in the 1920s and 1930s utilized 3ft poured-concrete foundations. These foundations altered the natural landscape. Another example that we uncovered this past week is a pit feature. In our previous brief discussion of stratigraphy, the term that archaeologists use to describe the relationship of different layers of soil, we noted that soil develops in distinct layers. When these layers are cut into and then refilled the distinct soil levels become mixed together, or "mottled" in archaeology jargon.
 Profile view of the pit. The red line roughly delineates the pit from the natural soil. Note how the pit cuts through the levels of the soil. Also, note the mottled soil


 Despite not finding many interesting artifacts, we can tell that humans have affected the landscape at Muhlenberg's Brigade. It's possible that these modern disturbances, including the foundation and the pit, destroyed encampment era cultural resources, but we are hopeful to find traces of the 18th century as our work continues. 

archeology, American Revolution, Valley Forge, Volunteers, History




10 Comments Comments icon

  1. gdbgatbahr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:41
     

    my mom needs to go potty.

     
  2. gdbgatbahr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:41
     

    my mom needs to go potty.

     
  3. gdbgatbahr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:41
     

    my mom needs to go potty.

     
  4. hfr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:40
     

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  5. hfr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:40
     

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  6. hfr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:40
     

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  7. hfr
    May 13, 2018 at 01:40
     

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  8. July 24, 2013 at 07:39
     

    I have always wished to dig in to the past. It is my true love to, in a sense, meet these wonderful souls,again,in our time. I wish my ' wish 'could be granted someday.

     
  9. July 17, 2013 at 06:53
     

    I've been to the Muhlenberg Huts and seen the work you're doing there - I find it fascinating and really appreciate your blog!

     
  10. July 17, 2013 at 02:09
     

    We were at the dig today. I thank you for taking the time to answer my nephew Mike's questions. He was very excited to talk to you. Regards Steve

     
 
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Last updated: July 17, 2013

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