06/22/14 — Archaeological dig at Bentonville set for this week

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Archaeological dig at Bentonville set for this week

By From staff reports
Published in News on June 22, 2014 1:50 AM

Geographers and anthropologists from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University will join archaeologists from the state Department of Cultural Resources for an archaeological investigation at the Bentonville State Historic Site on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The excavation will take place on the grounds of the Harper House at the site, which was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Bentonville in 1865.

The public is invited to observe 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Much is known about the short time of the Harper House as a hospital, but little is known of the grounds during the more than 100 years of the working Harper farm.

UNC Greensboro's Dr. Roy Stine and a team of graduate students in March used ground penetrating radar and a magnetic gradiometer to survey the working area around the historic home. The ground penetrating radar indicated several areas for further investigation by the professional archaeologists.

"We are excited about the upcoming archaeology project. I am cautiously optimistic about what we might find," says Bentonville Battlefield Assistant Site Manager Derrick Brown.

Project coordinators Dr. Stine and Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz will be available to answer questions from the public with other team members. Visitors can witness the tediously slow process of sifting dirt that is professional archaeology. Clues gained may allow for better interpretation of the family farm and may reveal more about the field hospital as well.

The Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21, 1865, involved 80,000 troops and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Bentonville Battlefield interprets the battlefield and the field hospital where many Confederates were left in the aftermath.

For more information, call 910-594-0789.