Steve Lawrence checks the screen for pieces of ’treasure,’ or artifacts that are hiding in the rocks and dirt that’s been dug outside the
Steve Lawrence checks the screen for pieces of 'treasure,' or artifacts that are hiding in the rocks and dirt that's been dug outside the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township on Tuesday. Archeologist Steve Warfel said their target is to see whether any evidence exists of Camp Security, a Revolutionary War prison camp. 'If we knew it was here, we wouldn't have to do this,' Warfel said. 'This is very much an exploratory dig, in that regard.' (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- BIL BOWDEN)
Archeologist Steve Warfel examined fragments of window glass, ceramics and bone that high-school student Dante Boemio found Tuesday during a dig outside the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township.

"This is a pearlware, which is early 19th century," Warfel said. ". . . It's an English ceramic type that dates from 1790s to about 1840."

Boemio's other finds included a metal lid that partly collapsed on itself and a piece of Albany slip stoneware, which was part of a chamber pot.

The 19th century has been well-expressed so far in the dig, Warfel said, but he and the volunteers haven't found any pieces yet reminiscent of Camp Security, a Revolutionary War prison camp.

Historic York Inc., which owns the Schultz House, received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an anonymous donation through Preservation Pennsylvania to search for remnants of the camp.

The camp is believed to have been housed on the original farmstead of the Shultzburg plantation, which was more than 200 acres, said Scott Butcher, president of the board of directors for the nonprofit.

"The five acres that we own obviously is only a very tiny portion of what the original farmstead was, but in typical military fashion, officers would have likely used the house," executive director Alycia Reiten said.

She pointed to a treeline in the distance and said that artifacts of the camp were found behind there during a 1979 archeological dig. It is believed that people would have traveled back and forth between the house and the camp, Reiten said.

The four-week dig started Monday and will be limited to Historic York's property, Reiten said. The collection will be processed during two weeks in October, and the artifacts will be housed at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

Warfel, who is a retired archeologist from the state museum, also will produce a report on the findings, Reiten said.

Volunteers scraped the 24-inch-in-diameter holes with trowels. They dumped the dirt in buckets and later sifted the soil to reveal small fragments of artifacts. Most of the holes were only about a foot deep; the soil under that depth was undisturbed.

Boemio, who is interested in archeology, volunteered for the dig as part of his senior project. The Eastern York High School sophomore said he thought it would be cool.

"It's not real hard," he said. "You just kind of need patience almost. You have to scrape and see what you've got and then sift it out."

Warfel told Boemio that he had the best pit of the day.

Others didn't have as much luck.

Liz Oerman of Mount Wolf, who loves old things and likes to dig, lamented that all she found was a couple pieces of pottery, some charcoal and a whole nest of locusts.

Even a small piece of bone is seen as a ’find’ in these early stages of the dig at the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township.
Even a small piece of bone is seen as a 'find' in these early stages of the dig at the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- BIL BOWDEN )

"Everybody else is finding bones, and I'm getting bugs," she said.

DIG FINDS

An archeological dig outside the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township has produced some artifacts. They include:

  • Cut iron nails, typical of the 19th century. They're called that because machinery cut them out of big sheets of iron, archeologist Steve Warfel said. The earlier nail -- the hand-wrought nail -- would be an indication of the Revolutionary period.

  • Pieces of coal

  • Pieces of bone

  • Pieces of pottery

  • Brick fragments

    CAMP SECURITY

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation identified Camp Security, the Revolutionary prisoner-of-war camp, as one of the nation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places four years ago.

    The trust also made a report to Congress last year recommending Camp Security as one of 26 Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sites that are a priority for preservation.

    The exact location of the camp, which is off Locust Grove Road in Springettsbury Township, is not known. A limited dig on the Wiest Farm in 1979 revealed pottery shards, buttons and gold coins from that era.

    Also of interest
    York-area developer: 'I think we have gone way above and beyond to preserve Camp Security'. Read more at York Town Square.