buttons fashioned from bone refuse
Other artifacts from the 1979 dig include thousands of fragments of window glass believed to be from the numerous log huts which were built as housing, according to contemporary written accounts. Pieces of clay “daub,” the material used for the chinking to seal gaps between the logs of the huts, were also recovered. The 1979 investigation also recovered hundreds of copper straight pins and crude buttons fashioned from animal bone. This corroborates the written accounts of the practice of “cottage industries,” such as the manufacture of lace and buttons, by the occupants of Camp Security.
Currency, such as silver “pieces of eight” (Spanish coins known as “reales,” which were sliced into eight pieces so as to make “change”) was also found. This appears to corroborate written accounts that certain prisoners were allowed to work for local farmers and earn wages. Noticeably absent from the Camp Security collection are items such as fragments of tobacco smoking pipes and liquor or wine bottles. Such artifacts are often abundant on domestic sites dating to the 18th century. However, dozens of other personal items such as buttons, buckles, cuff links and clothing clasps are represented in the Camp Security collection.
One unique item is a silver brooch in the shape of a heart. This is a distinctly Scottish piece of jewelry, and members of at least one Scottish regiment of Highlanders are known to have been present at Camp Security. This brooch signifies a weeping heart and was given as a farewell token and hopefully, brought protection to a loved one who had been sent to the war in America.
In 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Camp Security as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered historic places. Although this site has not yet been destroyed, the property is owned by a local individual who intends to ultimately convert this site into a housing development. We believe this unique place should be protected and preserved. So does a local preservation organization known as the Friends of Camp Security. We encourage all who cherish and respect our Revolutionary War heritage to contact the Friends of Camp Security for more information on how to assist with their preservation initiatives. campsecurity@HistoricYork.org
This week's guest blog is courtesy of BHP Historic Preservation Specialist Mark Shaffer.
For more information, visit PAarchaeology.state.pa.us or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .