Could something from 300 years ago exist in the ground of Stroudsburg? That's what an archaeological dig team hopes to find this month. A team of students led by their professor are excavating the backyard of the Stroud Mansion at 9th and Main Streets.
Right across the street from the Stroud Mansion once stood Fort Hamilton which Benjamin Franklin ordered to be built in 1755. The dig team is hoping to find anything that can give them insight into what was going on before the United States even formed.
"Just in the upper levels we're starting to find some ceramics that key us into the fact that there are English wares, more expensive wares that would probably date to the period of the construction of the Stroud Mansion which is 1795." said Dr. Jonathan Burns from Juniata College.
Burns is leading a team of students trying to find some artifacts from the mid to late 1700s. They've found some ceramic pieces, some gun parts, and a medicine bottle fully in tact. They could end up digging about six feet deep.
Burns said, "Bascially we have to get as deep as we can to confirm that no one else could've been leaving occupations down there. and that's including prehistoric folks. Like the thousands of years of stone tool using that were here too. And we've even found some evidence that they were here in this backyard."
This is Philip Harney's fifth dig he's been on. He and about ten other students spend eight hours a day trying to dig up some Stroudsburg history.
"Each layer is just like another set of clues." Harney said, "It's just the mystery of digging up the past. That's really what we love about it."
He said it's exciting trying to figure what was going on over 200 years ago, but it's hard work and requires a labor of love.
"You get up, you get a cup of coffee and some breakfast, and you hike up here and then you just sift through it. And it really takes a bit of passion to come out here." Harney said.
The students here come from all different colleges including Pitt, Penn State, and Bloomsburg just to name a few.
"But we're all really nice people. We're all down to earth." Harney said, "We're all in this hard work together and that's a real bonding experience"
Dr. Burns said students often times have to travel far away to be apart of a dig, but there's plenty of history to find in the middle of Stroudsburg
"It's right here under our feet this history, and they're hoping to document it." Burns said, "So it's a really rare opportunity for undergraduates to get their hands dirty, to learn these marketable skills, and they build camaraderie. And they're really helping the community out and I think they're getting a sense of that."
The dig just started on Monday, and they will be going at it for 20 consecutive days. We'll let you know if they find anything major.