Milton Archaeological Dig Open to the Public
MILTON, Del.- Work on a proposed overpass has uncovered a piece of early Delaware history.
Archaeologists are currently excavating the "Clark Tenant" site at Route One and Route 16. While surveying the site for a proposed overpass, Delaware Department of Transportation Archaeologist Kyle Edwards says a number of artifacts were found that merited further exploration.
"Later we came back and determined that this site was likely related to either enslaved residents or tenant farmers on the property," Edwards explains. "These sites are pretty rare and under studied in Delaware."
Archaeologists from the Dovetail Cultural Resource Group have been studying the intersection for years and are currently in the final phase of excavation. Items like buttons and ceramics have been uncovered, as well as a cellar hole for what was the living quarters. Regional Manager Bill Liebeknect says the land belonged to a Mrs. Aletta Clark, but who lived there is what they're trying to determine now.
"We don't know if this is tenants who worked for Mrs. Clark, because we know they are fairly low income," he says. "Or there's a fairly strong possibility that they are enslaved folks and we've got some evidence of that as well."
DelDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are funding the project, something Edwards says is a great opportunity.
"We do come across lots of archaeological finds. A lot of it tends to be roadside trash or what you'd expect," he says. "But this sort of, the significance of this site and the potential to learn more about the history of Delaware is really exciting."
The "Clark Tenant Site" as it's called is open to the public for the rest of the week. Work on the overpass will not begin until all artifacts and historic information is gathered from the site.