Site Update: July 2009
by Eric Deetz
In the months since Time Team America worked at the New Philadelphia site, the big news for the New Philadelphia Project was the site's designation as a National Historic Landmark. This designation is reserved for the country's most historically significant sites and is a testament to the site's potential for ongoing research.
Chris Fennell, one of the principal archaeologists at New Philadelphia also had this to report about their ongoing research:
"The many community members, archaeologists and historians working in the New Philadelphia Archaeology Project anticipate a very busy year ahead. Among other tasks, we'll investigate an area south of where Time Team searched for the footprint of the African-American schoolhouse. A past survey of that block showed likely remains of a house or other structure, and limited oral history accounts point to that area as another possible location of the schoolhouse. As Time Team found, however, it may be very difficult to ever definitively locate the foundations of the school, which was likely a small wood frame structure that left a sparse footprint in the archaeological record. That educational facility was of great importance in the social history of the town, and is of intense interest to the descendant and local communities, so our search for its remains will continue in coming years. We also anticipate continued work on the site of Louisa McWorter's house, the area of a blacksmith shop, the testing of thermal and geophysical anomalies and excavations in new areas of the town site for which documentary records again provide leads of possible house sites once occupied by other African-American families. The town site was designated a National Historic Landmark in January, 2009, so we will also be working with other organizations to explore options for future development of New Philadelphia as a place to teach the legacies of the McWorter family, of the many families who lived in the town and of the enduring heritage of ongoing struggles to make America what it was meant to be.
You can read more about the results of the New Philadelphia Project's 2008 dig, including Time Team America's research, in their 2008 Archaeology Report.