We wish to thank the Hudson River Bank and Trust Company Foundation and the Germantown Library for help in securing a grant. This grant will enable Dr. Christopher Lindner to excavate at the Parsonage of the First Reformed Church of Germantown. The Parsonage's left side was erected about 1743 and the right side about 1767. In addition the project will include an exhibit at the Germantown Library that will be available electronically.
The aim of the exhibit is to interest local and regional residents in Palatine history and in the contributions that archaeology can make to its understanding. Another goal is that the schools and community will become involved in long-term efforts to locate forgotten historic resources, to preserve known resources, and to develop educational programs about them.
For information about this summer's field school at the Parsonage, open to high school students with scholarships for college credit, please visit Bard Archaeology Field School.
Excavations offer the most valuable information to interpret daily life among Palatine immigrants, their descendants, and their neighbors from 1710 onward. Humans unintentionally leave behind traces of their lives. By analyzing the things people discard and the things they preserve for others, archaeologists recover the culture of those who came before. For other local archeology projects please visit at The Bard Archaeology Program
The exhibit will include results of a project done last summer for the Germantown 300th Anniversary Committee to superimpose maps of the 1700's and 1800's on recent topographic maps and current aerial photographs, by geographic information technology.
In November of 2009 the excavation began. We were hoping to find evidence of the original architecture. We began the dig below the window looking for the original entrance. The south face of the Parsonage was built in two parts. The left end was constructed about 1743 and the right side about 1767.
Prof Lindner sets up a level line to measure depths
in the trench out from the window.
Graduate student Trevor Johnson
came from Boston to assist the initial testing.
History Department member Alvin Sheffer
points out an artifact from the screen for sifting the excavated earth.
Alvin Sheffer instructs a team of volunteers
on the artifact screen: Jerry Smith, Joe Phelan, and Susan Raab.
The test trench reveals the foundation
of a wall that came out perpendicular from the wall of the house,
and may have kept slopewash and soil away from the entrance.
The west wall of the test trench shows on its right
the filled in builders’ trench next to the house foundation.
The test trench at 30 inches beneath the surface,
reveals a rock rubble foundation
with a slab footer stone at the base of the stuccoed wall.
A redware pottery sherd with slip decoration
from against the foundation, at 24 inches beneath the surface,
locally made or brought from England.