Louis A. Brennan Lower Hudson Chapter of New York State Archaeological Society
excavated a small test pit at the Archaeological Preserve in Croton Point Park
to search for evidence of an old berm supporting a pallisade wall. NYSAA members
Bill Kelleher, Pat Wilson, Scott Horecky, Marilyn Littman, Polly Midgely, John
Phillips and County Parks volunteer Abby Markward participated, under the
direction of archaeologist Tim Lloyd of John Milner Assoc.
the "model airplane field" plateau at Croton Point there is an approx 50 foot
long, 4 foot wide, 4 inch tall curved and rounded rise of earth running east to
west from the electric/phone distribution box on the southeast corner of the
plateau. This has been portrayed as a remaining stretch of a prehistoric berm
supporting a pallisaded wall once enclosing many acres.
This area has
been exposed to disturbance from the "Bungalow Colony" habitations (circa
1930-1960), decades of occasional foot and vehicular traffic and erosion and
compression during Hurricane Sandy cleanup and continuing landfill methane vent
repair work. Recent efforts to protect the landform have had varying success
although it is not technically in a high traffic area.
The excavation on
Sunday was an effort to determine if the landform was verifiable as a
prehistoric structure; a contemporary historic structure; or undetermined. If
prehistoric it is unique in this area: an important cultural landmark which
should be agressively preserved and interpreted. If contemporary we could safely
abandon efforts to preserve it. If undetermined it should be preserved in the
short term while research and inquiry continue.
NYSAA excavated a 1
meter by .5 meter test pit to a depth of 43 cm (17 inches) in 10 cm increments
(or upon encountering a change in soil horizon). All soil was screened through
1/4 inch mesh. At 33 cm deep (13 inches) we encountered a sandy subsoil where
evidence of prehistoric post holes would be found- if posts were left to rot in
place and the soil chemistry was conducive to preservation. No post hole traces
were found in this test pit. The top 13 inches of soil had a few historic
artifacts (two round nails, six small pieces of clear broken glass, seven small
pieces of plaster or asbestos tile, one 5.5 inch long cotter pin. This is random
debris scatter and does not indicate the location of a structure, instead it may
indicate spreading of 20th century fill over a wider area, including on top of a
The finding's from the dig were inconclusive. We should make best
efforts to preserve the structure in the immediate future and come up with a
plan and schedule for further inquiry.
Hope to see you at the next dig!