An archaeological dig at an 18th-century military site has uncovered large sections of stone walls that are believed to have been constructed within a larger British fortification that was never completed more than 250 years ago.
The excavations at Lake George Battlefield Park wrapped up on Friday after digging numerous pits in an area that was occupied by thousands of British and Colonial American soldiers during the French and Indian War.
Musket balls, gun flints and pottery pieces were among the artifacts found. David Starbuck, the archaeologist who led the dig, said the most significant find was the intact stone walls buried in a bastion of Fort George, which the British never finished building.
In 1759, the commander of British forces in North America, Jeffery Amherst, ordered the construction of a large fort on rising ground near the lake’s southern end, the site of two previous battles. With the British capture of the French fort at Ticonderoga in the summer of 1759, Amherst halted the work on Fort George. Only one corner bastion of the stone and earthen fort was completed, along with an interior stone building.
The fort fell into disrepair after the war ended in 1763, but the bastion was used by the Americans when the Revolutionary War started. The British captured Fort George in 1777, only to lose it again after their defeat at Saratoga that year. The redcoats recaptured the bastion in 1780.
Former National Park Service archaeologist David Orr called the Lake George site “just amazing” in terms of what’s being discovered from an often overlooked period of American history. Starbuck said he hopes to return to the Fort George site next year for another summer of digging.