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Ridgefield Historical Society seeks homeowner permission to expand Revolutionary War evidence search

The Ridgefield Historical Society has created a landowner permission form to allow archeological research into the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield.  Heritage Consultants LLC is finding documentary evidence to support a new conclusion that there were probably not three distinct engagements as has been commonly thought, but more of a running battle as General William Tryon and his troops marched through Ridgefield during the Revolutionary War. 

The consultant was hired through a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grant. 

The next step is to use metal detectors to look for physical evidence of the fighting along the routes believed taken by the invaders and the defenders.  The Ridgefield Historical Society is asking for landowners’ permission for metal detector operators to do a walking sweep of an area, marking spots that may suggest further investigation is warranted. 

The consultants expect to find bullets and buttons, possibly cannonballs and other artifacts of war, to provide evidence of the soldiers’ presence.  Any spots that will be hand excavated to determine the exact location of the possible artifact. If one is found, the object is bagged, the soil is returned to the hole and the sod is restored to its place, leaving no visible evidence of the “dig.” 

The artifact, if it appears to be from the Revolutionary era, will be the property of the National Park Service, which typically finds a secure location for such items once studies are completed.  The research team says the Ridgefield Historical Society’s climate-controlled vault would be an option. 

Even if evidence is found, property owners will not be restricted in the use, development or sale of the parcel.  Anything uncovered that is not of the period being studied will be presented to the landowner; common finds have been coins, buttons, utensils and jewelry.

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Todd Schnitt

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