FROM MONTCO: Archaeology Student Unearths Valley Forge Bayonet Stash, Writes Dissertation

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Image via Glen Gunther of the Battlefield Restoration & Archaeological Volunteer Organization.
Image via Jesse West-Rosenthal of the Battlefield Restoration & Archaeological Volunteer Organization.

When the Continental Army packed up Valley Forge and headed on toward victory in the Revolutionary War, a stash of bayonets was left behind.

Almost 250 years later, a group of archaeologists was also about to pack up and head out, but this time they didn’t leave the bayonets behind.

The rare historical find almost three years ago near the Valley Forge National Park yielded 30 bayonets on land “once part of the encampment where the Continental Army famously spent a hard winter from December 1777 to June 1778,” according to an Atlas Obscura report by Sarah Laskow.

“I haven’t seen anything else like it in a single excavation,” said Temple University archaeology student Jesse West-Rosenthal, a Ph.D. candidate who is writing his dissertation on the discovery. “It looked like someone had dug a hole in the ground and threw them in there. It’s rare that you find large collections of intact material, especially something like weaponry.”


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Found by Bill Hermstedt, a charter member of the Battlefield Restoration & Archaeological Volunteer Organization, the Valley Forge cache was a hodgepodge of makes and manufactures.

“It’s very possible that this was a discarded collection of materials that may have been replaced by new, more formalized weaponry coming, especially as France starts to supply the army,” West-Rosenthal said.

Read more about the Valley Forge discovery and the student writing about it at Atlas Obscura here.

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