Archaeological Remote Sensing and Data Recovery at Ramsour's Mill Mass Grave Monument, 31LN209, Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina

This study was designed to record and describe the methods and results of the GPR and data recovery project on and in the adjacent vicinity of the Mass Grave Monument, 31LN209, Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina. Survey of the project area and excavation of one 2 x 2 m test unit were conducted over a course of 12 days by a crew of two people and volunteers and interns associated with the Schiele Museum. Fieldwork included documentation of the existing site conditions as well as an intensive survey of the proposed two-acre tract. Areas of obvious disturbance and slopes of greater than 15 percent were not shovel tested.

A review of the appropriate USGS 7.5’ topographic map, Lincolnton West, NC (1993), was conducted prior to the initiation of the project (see Figure 1). The project area consists of approximately 2.0 acres (0.81 ha) on and adjacent to the Ramsour’s Mill Mass Grave Monument at Battleground Middle School, with total area coverage of 2,800 square meters. A number of residential and educational buildings along with a high school football stadium have occupied this area since the middle of the 20th century. Archaeological fieldwork was undertaken at the site of the Ramsour’s Mill Battle to locate potential prehistoric and/or historic resources in the project area and to confirm the location of the mass grave associated with the battle. Specific methodologies were employed for background review, fieldwork, and laboratory analysis for the project.

Data recovery for the project areas adjacent to the gravesite monument, situated in Lincoln County, North Carolina, was conducted between January 14 and February 15, 2008. Background research including examining available topographic data of the area, as well as reviewing the historical documents pertaining to the battle, was used in addition to guidance from Lincoln County Museum of History staff. Field notes and artifacts recovered from a prior survey, completed in the summer of 1991 (Baker 1991) were unavailable. As such, a strategy of remote sensing with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), systematic shovel tests, and a centrally placed 2-meter square test unit were employed to completely examine the area surrounding the Ramsour’s Mill Mass Grave Site, 31LN209.

Jason Harpe, Director, Lincoln County Museum of History, Lincolnton, North Carolina provided project support, local historical suggestions and leads, survey maps, and helpful suggestions during the field phase of the project, considerably speeding remote sensing and data recovery activities. The Principal Investigator for the project was Dr. J. Alan May, Curator of Anthropology at the Schiele Museum of Natural History located in Gastonia, North Carolina. Data recovery was directed by Tracy Martin and assisted by January W. Porter. Laboratory analysis and inventory was completed by January W. Porter with assistance from Tracy Martin. Students from the UNC-Charlotte Historical Archaeology class assisted with ground penetrating radar prospection under the direction of Dr. Terry A. Ferguson, Ph.D., Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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