Fort Pitt Block House Dig Turns Up Many Artifacts, And Visitors
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – They’re getting down and dirty around the old Fort Pitt Block House.
“This morning we woke up and said, ‘we’re going to the block house today,’” Fort Pitt Block House curator Emily Weaver said. “It’s very exciting.”
Over the last few days, archeologist and volunteers have slowly removed soil to see if this site has artifacts of historical value.
“Is there anything here? We have to answer that question,” Weaver said.
A survey of things past, for a planned garden in the future.
“This is part of a memorial garden here,” said Weaver, “in this area to commiserate the founder of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.”
Archeologist Christine Davis, is the woman called in to make that happen.
“We’ve found so many artifacts in a day and a couple hours,” Davis said.
She said they found a bear tooth pendant.
“You can see it’s polished not from us, but from someone wearing it,” she said.
She says it’s as old as 1600 or 1700 years old.
And that’s not all, historic pottery parts and bottles are seeing the light of day again.
Each one of these digs are called features. Each feature from a different era, pre-revolution, pre- and post-Civil War and postindustrial Pittsburgh. Every one of these holes are history books, each inch of dirt removed is a page turned.
And who are those doing the dirty work?
“We have a crew of 14 people, we do this every day of our lives,” Davis said.
However, not everybody there is classically trained in the art of artifact.
“I’m a detective for the city,” said amateur archeologist John Mihalson.
Det. Mihalson volunteered to do some investigating of a very different type, but there are parallels.
“You always start with little things in an investigation,” he said. “Here it’s a little piece of glass you don’t know where it’s going to lead you, don’t know what’s under the next inch of dirt.”
But he says it’s a lot more fun.
The three-day dig has a lot of passers by digging what’s going on.
“We had 400 people here today,” Weaver said.
In that group was Jim Mcknight of Morning Side.
“Absolutely amazing, absolutely amazing,” he said. “There were native American people here back in the day.”
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