Excavations at Grand Contraband Slavery Camp

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    Grand Contraband Camp 1864
    Grand Contraband Camp in Hampton in 1864 (Photo courtesy of Hampton History Museum/Library of Congress)

     

    Archaeologists are now digging on the site known as the Grand Contraband Camp where low-cost housing was torn down two years ago in downtown Hampton, VA.

    Archaeological Dig Contraband Slave Site
    An archaeology dig on the contraband slave site near the corner of Lincoln Street and North Armistead Ave. in Hampton on Monday, June 12, 2014 (Photo: Sonja Y. Foster, For The Virginian-Pilot)

    The crew started with three test plots. In one of them, more than 70 soil stains were found indicating where the ground was disturbed by humans. While some of the marks appear to be modern – like a utility trench – others are older.

    Pieces of oyster shells and animal bones were discovered gathered together in one spot. They also discovered what appears to be postholes for fences or structural walls, and a large dark patch encircled by paler ground which is likely an old well with sides supported by empty barrels inside the shaft.

    Other artifacts include a button dating to between 1812 and 1830, and an object that resembles an acorn cap that could be part of a cuff link.

    Read more: Archaeologists look for slavery clues in Hampton

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