Quarterly Newsletter, June 2020


In this issue:
*New Listings on Virginia Landmarks Register *New Historical Markers *New Battlefield Easement *Ask an Archaeologist *Scannnig Shipwrecks and Monuments *Announcements
Images of four buildings that will be considered for listing on the registers
Clockwise, top right: Walker-Wilkins-Bloxom Warehouse HD, Newport News; Brown Swisher Barn, Rockbridge Co.; Carnegie Hall, Lynchburg; and Armistead House, Williamsburg.

13 Historic Sites Added to the Va. Landmarks Register

—New VLRs in the counties of Bath, Greene, Hanover, Madison, Page, Pittsylvania, Rockbridge, and Rockingham; and the cites of Lynchburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Roanoke, and Williamsburg—

A water-powered gristmill in the Blue Ridge Mountains, four places connected to African American history, and two barns are among 13 sites added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in June. Read more and see photos. . .
Thumbnails for hwy markers
—Markers cover topics in the counties of Campbell, Clarke, Dinwiddie, Fairfax, Fauquier (3), Greene, Hanover, King George, Louisa, Middlesex, Montgomery, New Kent (2), Nottoway, Orange, Prince Edward, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Scott, Shenandoah, and Smyth; and the cities of Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg (2), Norfolk, Petersburg, Richmond (3), Roanoke (2), and Suffolk—

35 Historical Highway Markers Approved

—20 markers on African American history

In June, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved 35 new historical markers covering a variety of topics. Twenty of the forthcoming markers highlight people, places, or events tied to African American civil rights, education, health, or Civil War and Reconstruction-era history, a grouping that Governor Ralph Northam announced in recognition of Juneteenth.

The large roster of markers stems from the cancellation in March of the board’s spring quarterly meeting due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more, see related photos, and complete text of each marker.

Archaeologists investigating shipwreck.
Archaeologists examining wrecks visible at low tide in the Nansemond River.

3-D Scanning of Shipwrecks and Monuments

—DHR State Archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Moore discusses recent projects involving scanning large objects including monuments in Richmond—

Our first foray into 3-D imaging of larger objects was conducted in Suffolk in the Fall of 2019. Supported by DHR’s Threatened Sites fund, archaeologists from the Longwood University Institute of Archaeology (IoA) and the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) surveyed and documented 13 vessels submerged in the Nansemond River. Read more and see photos.
UUnidentified USCT soldier.
Unidentified Union soldier, a member of USCT.

New Easement on 33+ Acres of New Market Heights Battlefield

—The easement on Rock Tract is affiliated with the Sept. 29, 1864 Civil War battle involving United States Colored Troops —

The American Battlefield Trust has conveyed to the Commonwealth of Virginia a preservation easement that protects 33.814 acres of land in Henrico County affiliated with the 1864 Civil War battle of New Market Heights (Chaffin’s Farm) and the actions of United States Colored Troops, the official name given to the Army’s African American soldiers. Read more and see photos.
Shows four lithic points of varying shape and size
Four points found in Powhatan County.
Three sherds with decorative patterns.
Points and blades collected in Reston area.

Ask an Archaeologist

DHR archaeologist Mike Clem continues answering questions in this ongoing series

The son of Sarah and James Reilly in Powhatan Co. found the points shown in the photo and the family asked what DHR could tell them about the items. Sarah writes:
When we started building our house, we used a trencher to install a silt fence around the lower perimeter of the clearing, digging about 8 inches down in the process. Read more.

Another question to Mike Clem:
A now-deceased neighbor, an early resident of Reston, VA, moved here in 1971 and over the years found these points (photo), which his son shared with us. The son presumes his father found almost all of the items in Reston. My husband, a Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, and I have been trying to learn more about the collection. We also wonder if it should be donated to a museum or some sort of archived collection. Read Mike's response.

Other Announcements:

  • DHR Offers Guidance Regarding Confederate Monuments: DHR urges those advocating for removal of these monuments in Virginia localities to allow for a legal and deliberative process. As soon as July 1, localities may legally remove monuments; in the meantime, vandalism, potentially a Class 6 felony under state law (§18.2 – 137), may unnecessarily pose a risk to public safety and will impede the orderly removal of the monuments. DHR's guidelines support the removal of monuments in a manner adhering to best preservation practices, one that will also allow for input from local officials and citizenry about the ultimate fate of each monument.
  • Update: DHR Enters Phase II of Operations Under Covid Pandemic: Please see our current Phase II Guidelines for staff and visitors. Many staff will work remotely during our hours of operation. Staff can be reached by email using this format: first name.last You can also check the staff directory for a phone number to leave a message. DHR also requires visitors conducting business at DHR to answer questions on this Covid Prevention Questionnaire. Its purpose is to protect visitors, our staff, and to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
  • DHR Now Accepting Applications for 2020 Virginia Battlefield: The grants can be applied to protecting acreage affiliated with battles during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War by either fee simple land purchases or protective easement purchases. DHR urges qualified organizations to apply for the grants. The deadline for applications is close of business on August 10.
  • ESHPF Disaster Relief Grants Related to Hurricanes Michael and Florence: DHR opened a new phase earlier in June for Survey and Planning Request for Assistance. This is for individuals and groups who would like to use funds for survey and planning projects. The deadline for these requests is July 24. See the survey and planning request for assistance webpage for more information.
  • Forthcoming later this summer: A new addition to DHR's archaeological Research Report Series. DHR will publish online (PDF) The Nansemond Ghost Fleet, Archaeological Research Report No. 24 prepared by P. Brendan Burke, Brian D. Gates, Robin Ramey, Longwood Institute of Archaeology, Longwood University.