Team of archaeologists excavate the past of Ohiopyle State Park in search of cultural treasure

A pilot project at Ohiopyle State Park has members of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps sifting through the dirt, looking for culturally significant items before a campsite expansion.

The cultural resources team has been working since last week in a wooded area near the Kentuck campground, said team leader and archaeologist Kate Peresolak. So far, they have found a piece of cobalt blue glass, which could have come from a bottle or some other type of container.

Their work site was the site of an icy visit on Monday from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and officials from the Pennsylvania Commission on History and Museums.

“It’s exciting to see him in action,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of DCNR. “We see this as a big step forward in our management of cultural resources. “

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, through a contract with the Student Conservation Association, has worked on projects in state parks throughout the year. The Cultural Resources team was assigned two locations: Ohiopyle and Moraine State Parks.

The Ohiopyle area was used 120 years ago as an agricultural field that has since been replaced by trees, said Angie Jaillet-Wentling, cultural resources program coordinator at DCNR. The archaeological assessment at Ohiopyle will help park officials better understand how the land was used in the past and allow them to tell visitors about it, Dunn said.

There will be 90 holes dug on the site of Ohiopyle, spaced 15 meters each. Crew members work in pairs to shovel soil and sift it. Once the work is completed, all items found will be cleaned up and documented.

Next, officials will need to determine if anything unearthed is significant enough to warrant adjusting the Kentuck Campground expansion plan, Jaillet-Wentling said. Department officials will coordinate with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission officials as necessary.

“You can either avoid it, or work around it, or design something,” Jaillet-Wentling said.

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is in its sixth year of working in the state, providing job skills to youth with an emphasis on park and forest management. Nine adult crews helped this year.

Renatta Signorini is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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