Technology often enables us to locate archaeological resources with minimal intrusion or damage. We use metal detection to identify sites such as army camps and plane crash sites. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is frequently used to identify graves and buried structural remains. We have experimented with various technologies to identify sites, ranging from electrical resistivity to proton magnetometer testing, which was used to identify the remains of 19th-century torpedo boats in New London, Connecticut. Our geoarchaeologists lead our remote sensing projects, with customized equipment and programming to maximize results.
Submerged Torpedo Boats
AHS staff worked closely with the University of Connecticut Geology Department to locate the sunken hulls of c. 1900 U.S. Navy torpedo boats. Research showed that the hulls had been incorporated as fill into man-made land, where a new development was to be built. Attempts to locate the hulls using GPR had failed, so we turned to proton-processing magnetometer testing, which was more suitable for ground conditions. The survey was successful and we located five hulls. We developed a permanent project exhibit in Fort Trumbull State Park in New London, Connecticut.
Other Project Examples
As part of a project involving rebuilding stone retaining walls on Route 44 in Norfolk, Connecticut, AHS archaeologists conducted a GPR survey in Center Cemetery (1757), located on a hilltop above the retaining walls, to identify potential unmarked burials.
World War II Plane Crash Sites
AHS used metal-detection technology to locate and define the debris fields of the crash sites of two U.S. Navy Hellcat planes, which collided over Norwich, Connecticut in 1944.
Old North Cemetery
AHS archaeologists conducted a GPR survey to search for unmarked grave shafts and human remains in an undeveloped portion of a cemetery in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Revolutionary War Camp Sites
In order to locate the remains of over a dozen Revolutionary War camp sites in Connecticut and New York, we developed an “archaeological signature” of metal artifacts that would be diagnostic of French support forces. The sites were then systematically swept with metal detectors.