Dig It: Experience an Archeological Dig at Valley Forge

At Valley Forge a typical soldier's log cabin (or hut, as they were called) was dug into the earth a little, so that the hut floor was often a bit below ground level. This saved on the number of logs needed to construct a hut high enough to live in. During the time the soldiers lived in the huts, dirt, ashes from their fire, and other debris built up a thin layer on the hut floor. Lost and discarded objects sometimes were preserved in this thin layer on the floor.

After the winter encampment was over, the huts were torn down, leaving behind just the depression in the earth, the stone fireplace, and the various lost items. Over the years, washed-in soil, leaves, and other material has built up a covering layer of humus, containing artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The diagram below shows a cross-section of an archeological excavation in a typical soldier's hut at Valley Forge. Click on the diagram to learn more about the excavation and the artifacts that have been found.