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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: May 2, 2022

Archeology dig at historic Odell house on Ridge Road, Hartsdale

A fascinating archeology dig--learning more about the historic Odell House which will be turned into a museum.

The Friends of Odell House Rochambeau continue to amaze with their innovative initiatives. The house, located on Ridge Road, Hartsdale, played a critical role in helping win the Revolutionary War.  The Friends are determined to create a first class museum at this historic site.  Check out their website to learn more about the important role Greenburgh played in American history.   www.odellrochambeau.org    Thank you, Friends of Odell House Rochambeau for your hard work and efforts.  They always are looking for volunteers and support. PAUL FEINER

Friends of Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters Archeology Dig

 

On April 13th the first archeology dig at Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters started bright and early.  The purpose of this first study was to guide the next step of the restoration of the grounds of this historic Greenburgh site.  The Friends of Odell House Rochambeau HQ raised the funds to pay for the study and after interviewing several firms, signed a contract with Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc of Rensselaer, NY.  Led by Matthew Kirk, Principal Investigator and Vice President, the team began by mapping out a grid pattern on the property to determine where to explore. Danielle Duguid, the crew chief, assigned her three associates, Cindy Herrick, Adam Gersten and Christian Futyma, areas to dig holes, each four feet deep and about two feet in diameter. Every scoop of earth was carefully lifted out and put through a screen sieve. Thirty-two holes were dug in total.

 

The first holes were close to the house, on the north side. They yielded many small pieces of pottery, from the 18th and 19th century. Matt is a pottery expert, and he will give us a full description of each piece in his report. The Friends will correlate the description with some of the intact pieces they have saved from the house and be able to identify and date them.

 

With the help of the Town DPW excavator operator, Trent Morgan, two long trenches were dug in the rear of the property not only to look for artifacts but also try to determine the original topography of the site. The archeologists got into the trench and looked at the stratifications of soil. Their initial conclusion is that the landscape was heavily modified over the decades. This will help us when we plan the final landscaping of the site.

 

The prize for the best find of the day goes to OHRH Board member, Kathy Evers. Different Board members came for an hour each to watch the dig and to offer assistance, if needed. While standing close to the remains of a chimney at the rear of the house, Kathy found a cast iron kitchen hook behind a brick! It hangs from a wood fragment that was part of the fireplace and the hook would have been used to suspend a pot over coals of the hearth fire.  It’s most likely from 1855 when that part of the house was built.

 

Two intact foundations at the southwest corner of the property were also studied. A test hole that was dug in one foundation revealed layers of sand at the bottom. The archeologists thought it most likely this was an icehouse. At their second site visit on April 26th to complete more work, the archeologists confirmed this, and also identified a late 19th century privy area and a circle of handmade 18th century bricks that might have been the floor of a smoke house.

 

The full archeological report is the first step towards restoring the grounds and creating the full landscape plan. It will guide decisions about where the landscape architect designates areas for outdoor events and classrooms without destroying any of the history of the house. Lastly, it will help to determine where the gardens, an important part of the new museum, will be located.

 

To follow this story or to donate, go to www.odellrochambeau.org.

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