Volunteers conduct a previous Camp Security dig
2019 Camp Security dig volunteers still needed
Some volunteers are still needed for the 2019 Camp Security dig, which starts in less than three weeks. No experience is necessary, but volunteers do need to fill out the Volunteer Registration Form and submit it quickly. The form is posted on the Friends of Camp Security website homepage: www.campsecurity.org.
The dig at Camp Security in Springettsbury Township will begin Thursday August 7 with manual collection of anything on the surface that might be significant. This will be followed by metal detection on August 8. Actually digging will run August 12 through September 4 from Monday through Friday, except for Labor Day. After several days allowed for rain make up, lab work (cataloging and cleaning of findings) will be held on weekdays from September 12 until September 20, as necessary.
Camp Security was one of the very few large scale encampments specifically built to house British prisoners-of-war during the American Revolution. As far as it is known, it is the only Revolutionary War POW camp that has escaped being mostly destroyed by modern development. This was made possible by the efforts and cooperation of the Friends of Camp Security, numerous public and private funders and Springettsbury Township.
Previous archaeological excavations have uncovered many artifacts, including pottery, metal utensils, bone buttons and even pins used to make lace. Some of these objects are now on display at the Springettsbury Township office. The artifacts, combined with much written documentation confirm the location of Camp Security in 1781-1783 on the farm then owned by David Brubaker. It is off of today’s Locust Grove Rd. and Eastern Blvd. The found items seem to be associated with the “huts” (small log houses) that housed the prisoners mostly captured in 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga, New York, some of which had wives, and even children, living there with them in a small village of huts outside the main stockade.
To properly interpret Camp Security, the site of the stockade of upright logs set into a trench also needs to be found. This stockade, which has been documented in numerous first-person accounts, probably held mostly British from the ranks that had recently (late 1781) been surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia. Even though wooden logs themselves would not have lasted nearly 240 years, careful digging in the right places will uncover straight lines showing where the stockade walls had been placed. Other soil disturbances within the stockade should show the location of waste pits, cooking areas and other things necessities for such a community.
The excavation site chosen this year is based on the 2018 Camp Security Geophysical Survey report commissioned by Friends of Camp Security and conducted by the Department of Geography-Earth Science of Shippensburg University. This extensive study utilized various forms of remote sensing. The findings generated a through 47-page report; it is posted on the Friends of Camp Security website. This information was used to pinpoint areas of promise which will be explored this summer and in the future. Anyone who wants to part of this year’s exploration must submit their completed volunteer forms very soon. Information as to where and how to submit in included on the form.