Students Find "Treasure Trove" at Valley Forge

August, 2000 — Valley Forge, PA — Soon, trips to the beach and amusement parks will be fond memories as kids across the nation head back to the classroom. But a few lucky students will long remember this summer as a time when they got to dig into America's past - literally!

Student volunteers became "junior archeologists" and dug for treasures from our nation's past as part of the most comprehensive archeological dig ever conducted at Valley Forge National Historical Park in Valley Forge, PA. Under the direction of National Park Service archeologists, student volunteers - along with National Park rangers, parents, college students and senior citizens - were in search of what Continental Army troops may have left behind from their encampment at Valley Forge over 200 years ago.

The dig team unearthed a trove of treasures from the Revolutionary War-more than experts anticipated. Major finds include a button bearing British identifying marks, which archeologists have determined belonged to a British Army prisoner of war held captive at Valley Forge. A student volunteer found an ornate porcelain cufflink that most likely was from an officer's personal collection. Other historic items unearthed include: a pair of delicate sewing scissors; a cluster of animal bones, that will help archeologists further analyze the soldiers' diets and food regimens; dozens of musket balls and gunflints; and ceramic and glass fragments.

The dig site marks the location where Continental Army troops set up camp in rustic log cabins during the harsh winter of 1777-1778 under General George Washington. The dig is made possible by the Discover Presidential Log Cabins program, a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), National Park Foundation (NPF) and Aurora Foods Inc., the makers of Log Cabin syrup.

In addition to the dig at Valley Forge, The Discover Presidential Log Cabins program also includes restoration of two log cabin sites within the National Parks, that were once inhabited by U.S. presidents.

A main focus of the program is on sharing these discoveries with students across the nation. Students can log on to an interactive Web site (www.nps.gov/LogCabin), partake in electronic field trips and view an educational school video, to learn more about the Valley Forge dig. They also can explore the log cabin where Union Army General U.S. Grant met with President Abraham Lincoln to plan the final battles of the Civil War. And they can view the restoration of Theodore Roosevelt's "badlands" cabin, where he became a rancher and shaped his views on conservation.

Bringing American history to life in a multi-media approach, 6th- 8th grade social studies and history teachers can register to receive the free educational video, a curriculum supplement with student activities and a classroom poster. Classes can also participate in electronic field trips to the restoration and archeological dig sites, scheduled for October and November 2000. Registered classrooms will log onto the Web site during live chats with National Park historians and experts.

To receive information about registering for the program please call toll-free 1-800-943-6775, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, fax your request to 212-921-9536, or email: logcabin@westglen.com.

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For more information on this program, contact:

Lora Young or Jill Sharp
Lord, Sullivan & Yoder
Phone: 614.846.7777
E-mail: lyoung@lsy.com or jsharp@lsy.com