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Wayne Post
  • Historically speaking — A peek at Palmyra’s past

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  • I promised this week would be about the Big Dig Camp. It will even though Tammy Whitacre of the Wayne Post will be doing a full story about it in the near future. The Camp was held on Aug. 6 to 8 with the reveal on Saturday the 10. We determined that the pit should be in an area that would allow the most to be found. The northeast corner of the back yard was chosen. A 6-foot square was prepared for the dig with stakes, string and yard stick for depth measurements. A line level was used to make sure the depth numbers were correct. A number of children and adults came to the camp a total of 15 participated in the dig. The trowels, buckets, tooth brushes, and baggies were prepared to create a methodical way of cataloging each and every item.
    What is an archaeological dig and why are they so important, you may ask? The earth holds layers upon layers of history with each generation leaving its mark. We determined that we recovered items from the early 1800s through the 1980s. All items are on display at the Palmyra Historical Museum in a very special case. We’ll save the details and the pictures for Tammy. I will tell you it was a huge success and all that participated had an amazing time.
    Next in the subject of archaeological finds, we will speak about the Lois McClure, her crew, and the Director of Special Programs, Art Cohn. Art is a professor, advocate, enthusiast, and dedicated founder of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, as well as the captain of the tugboat, Churchill. For those of you that had the opportunity to board the Lois McClure during her stay in Palmyra understand the intricacies of what it take to reproduce such a boat. Total of 201 folks boarded the Lois McClure during her stay. What does the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum do? That is a great question. Discovery, protection, and restoration of our history, is their main purpose followed by teaching their mission to others, just like Historic Palmyra does.
    Art Cohn and the Maritime Museum have been called on many jobs to identify, research, and determine the correct approach for the Lake Champlain American Fleet headed by Benedict Arnold in our fight for freedom. Can you imagine that 300 vessels lie on the bottom of the lake waiting to tell their story? The delicate circumstances and conditions of these ships leads to the need for a special group of divers, historians, and conservationists to take great care in charting, identifying, and protecting these parts of our history. If you missed this program you missed a look into our history as a nation and the difficulty we had fighting an experienced navy considered the greatest navy in the world, the British. A small lake called Mirror Lake was filled with cannon balls. The Maritime Museum was called and quickly called the U.S. Navy to assist with these possible live balls.
    Page 2 of 2 - After much work it was determined that they were not live and were sent to the museum for restoration and investigation. A Union General had dumped these into the lake to keep them from being discovered. They lay there for over 150 years. We have on loan one of these cannon balls in various stages. If you want to see the science behind the making of a cannon ball, this is the exhibit for you. Come on down and check out what we have to show you. We are always looking for new members; please always support your hometown museums. Call 597-6981.
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