FORT ASHBY - Dr. W. Stephen McBride of McBride Preservations Services LLC presented a report on the 2017 summer archeological dig at Ashby's Ford on Tuesday, July 25, to a standing-room-only crowd.
FORT ASHBY - Dr. W. Stephen McBride of McBride Preservations Services LLC presented a report on the 2017 summer archeological dig at Ashby’s Ford on Tuesday, July 25, to a standing-room-only crowd.
The dig was located at the site of the French and Indian War fort known as Fort Ashby located off of Dan's Run Road in the community bearing the same name.
Dr. McBride had conducted an earlier dig at the fort site in 2007-08, which revealed portions of the stockade walls. He described the purpose of this year's dig as to explore and evaluate the ground at the rear of the property adjoining the Ashby's Fort Museum as well as a section behind the museum. These properties have recently been donated to the Friends of Ashby's Fort, Inc., the group that now owns the museum and Fort Ashby site.
This dig revealed two thirds of the northern wall and the southeast bastion (a diamond shaped structure located at each of the four corners of the vertical log walls). These findings plus previous findings reveal more than half of the fort's footprint.
The dig also confirms that the original fort was located to the rear and right of the fort museum which has commonly been referred to as the "old fort.”
The actual fort was positioned only 5-10 degrees off from magnetically north. The four vertical log walls extended approximately 33 feet in length with large horizontal log bastions at the corners. These bastions were larger than normal and not dirt filled as traditional bastions of the era were designed. The reason for this may have been to provide a room for shelter for the rangers assigned to the fort.
The fort walls measured approximately 110 feet bastion to bastion. Artifacts recovered during the dig included blacksmith nails, coins, buttons, delft ware, red ware, spoons, smoking pipes dating to mid to late 18th century, a lead toy known as a wizzer, musket balls and flintlock pieces.
Dr. McBride worked in conjunction with Potomac State College of WVU, where he instructed a special summer course titled Archeology Field Methods for interested students.
Additional funding for the dig came from a local US WindForce Foundation Grant and private donations made to the friends group. Visit the Friends of Ashby's Fort's Facebook page for additional pictures and excerpts from Dr. McBride's presentation.
Visit on the web @ www.fortashby.org. The next open house at the museum will be Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everyone is invited to come see the new artifacts and learn about this local historical site.
The event is free, although donations are welcome and appreciated.