Archaeologists follow the clues of a 1662 chapel in the United States

Archaeologists follow the clues of a 1662 chapel in the United States

A team of archaeologists and volunteers is near locate a chapel from 1662 in Newtown Neck, in Crompton (United States).

The catholic church of St. Francis Xavier has hired Scott Lawrence of Grave Concerns and James Gibb of Gibb Archeology Consulting to search the original chapel on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of its construction this year. The two researchers conduct an archaeological exploration in the original church cemetery. The Rev. Brian Sanderfoot comments that they began to find “a great abundance of archaeological material” and that they are “happy and confident"Because they are close to"delimit location”.

The archaeological team focused on the church cemetery, which is about half a mile north of the present chapel. The location of the cemetery indicates where the original temple once stood. While the team searched for evidence of the chapel, numerous burial sites were found and, based on excavations, there are many more graves than gravestones.

As the teams removed 2.3-square-meter sections of soil, layers of clay appeared. This made the job easier, as the rest of the colonial-era flooring is dark brown.

Lawrence and Gibb look for holes to indicate that there was a construction there before, since a hole would contain mixed clay and have an area of ​​dark, decomposed material in the center.

Excavation began on March 30 and continued through the weekend after. The effort paid off on April 1, when the team found, about 10 feet from the original excavation, some broken glass and several forged nails. The pieces of glass showed how they were joined together, and based on that, the team thinks that the chapel from 1662 had diamond-shaped windows.

The search for the temple was a process of elimination. The floor was divided into grids and if a section looked interesting, the one next to it was enlarged and so on. Lawrence compares this methodology with “A sinking fleet game where players search different quadrants to find ships”.

But not all are good news. Both researchers regret that no money for more searches. So far this year, it has been the second weekend they have been able to excavate. But Gibb is not resigned and affirms that the original chapel “doesn't want to be alone for another 300 years”.

The team doesn't know how big the chapel. Ruth Mitchell, archaeologist from the historic town of St. Mary, who has volunteered for this work, explains that the Jesuits had detailed records "beginning in 1680, but not during the previous two decades”. The church's own reverend has attempted to obtain data on the size of the basilica from 1662 by examining the record it kept county sheriff over the temples that were closing. But this search was unsuccessful, since it did not specify their size.

The jesuits They started a mission at Newton Neck in 1640 which was completed in 1662 with the construction of the church. The parishioners came to the homilies by boat, through the stream near the cemetery that, today, is covered with sand and has become a wetland. However, the temple was closed in 1704 when Catholics were punished in the colony of Maryland following the return to power of the Protestants in England. The chapel fell into disuse and was demolished in 1719. A few years later, in 1731, they built what would be the current basilica, which has been expanded and renovated over the years.

According to Sanderfoot, today there are about 250 families going to St. Francis Xavier, while in the late 1600s, there were about a dozen Catholic families in the Newtowne Neck area.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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