Newtown Battlefield Project

Overview

This report presents the realization of a long-held goal of the Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) at Binghamton University. PAF has conducted cultural resource projects throughout the Chemung River Valley for the past 40 years. For each of these projects, the Newtown Battlefield stood as a reminder of the valley's importance in local, regional, and national history. Each of the sites identified and researched in the Chemung Valley has been associated with either Native American or EuroAmerican communities. The Newtown Battlefield represented the material and symbolic interactions of these groups. The Battle of Newtown, as well as the whole Sullivan-Clinton campaign and American Revolution on the frontier, produced both collaboration and conflict between these communities. Newtown was a constant reminder to PAF researchers and local landowners of the historical and commemorative importance of the Battlefield. In fact, some of local landowners trace ancestry to frontier settlers and Revolutionary War soldiers in this region. Thus, researching the Newtown Battlefield and discussing how to best preserve it became an underlying goal of many interested groups and consulting parties. With our previous report (Newtown 2010) and with this report, we have established a fundamental understanding of the battle's history and its landscape. We have also built the foundation for future preservation initiatives.

The Newtown 2008-2010 project created a collaboration between historians and Native American scholars to develop an integrated and expanded history of the battle. Newtown 2010-2012 was another cooperative effort, this time among archeological researchers, to best locate and study the material remains of the battle. A combination of professional metal detection survey and traditional hand excavation allowed a thorough approach to identifying the presence of artifacts and features at Newtown. Our goal was to focus on the main features of the battlefield. This focus allowed us to ground-truth documentary predictions of how the battle flowed, and to better understand the battlefield's integrity.

We thank Matt Kirk and Bruce Sterling of Hartgen Archaeological Associates who helped PAF survey a large portion of the battlefield. They provided guidance and extensive metal detector experience that helped shape survey strategies and effectively identify the material presence of the battle.

Various members of the project team and PAF aided in the archeological field survey: Sherene Baugher, PhD (Cornell University- Anthropology/Archaeology); members of Binghamton University's Anthropology Department, Brant Venables and Josh Anderson; and PAF crew members: Edgar Alarcon, Paul Brown, Alex Button, Greg Diute, Dorothy Finn, Laura Philips, Matt LocPiccolo, Alex Nevglovski, Dylan Pelton, and Luke Schulz. These crews endured the extreme heat of the summer and cold of the winter to help complete the fieldwork for this project. Their dedication and volunteer hours contributed to the success of this project.

Joining me on the Binghamton team were Michael Jacobson, PhD, Brian Grills, and Richard Kastl, all of whom are professional archeologists on the staff of the Public Archaeology Facility. Grills contributed to the historical background of the battle presented in Section III. Dr. Jacobson directed the field study and associated mapping. He addressed the issue of assessing the integrity of the surveyed defining features. His expertise in GIS mapping is evident throughout the report. In addition, he assumed the role of report coordinator and kept this task on target. Richard Kastl participated in the first NPS Revolutionary War/War of 1812 mapping project, and brings his experience in GIS, field mapping, and historic research to this project. He also served as the primary lab analyst for this project.

This project continued to bring together the local community within the Chemung Valley. Project archeologists were only able to accomplish this project with the help of the landowners. Their dedication to protecting the landscape of the Chemung Valley and the remains of the battlefield will ensure that preservation initiatives continue after this project is completed. While the Newtown Battlefield is a nationally significant landmark, it requires the commitment of the local community to keep the battlefield's landscape preserved.

I am grateful to all the participants and landowners for their dedication to this project. I am especially grateful to the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program for the funding that allowed this endeavor to move forward. Any errors are the sole responsibility of the authors.

Nina M. Versaggi, PhD
Director, Public Archaeology Facility

Overview
Introduction
Research Goals
Historical Background
Environmental Context and Previous Archeological      Testing
Research Design
Archeological Methods
Results of Archeological Testing
Interpretation and Assessment
Summary and Conclusion
References

Last Updated: 12/18/17