Podcast Episode 87: Discover Camp Security, a Revolutionary War Prison Camp

Explore the history of Camp Security with Jonathan Stayer as he reveals the site's role in the Revolutionary War. Learn about ongoing excavations and its global significance.

Podcast Episode 87: Discover Camp Security, a Revolutionary War Prison Camp

Unlike many other Revolutionary War prison sites, Camp Security has not been impacted by modern development. It's the last prison camp site available for archeology, and this episode covers that work and the history of the camp.

Archaeological Work at Camp Security

Archaeological efforts at Camp Security began in earnest in 1979, driven by concerns over potential land development. Since then, multiple excavations have taken place, each contributing valuable insights into the camp's layout and operations.

The Holy Grail: Finding the Stockade

One of the most sought-after discoveries has been the location of the camp’s stockade. Two different digital surveys—one using electromagnetometers and another using ground-penetrating radar—were inconclusive. However, in 2022, archaeologists finally uncovered evidence of the stockade trench, marking a significant breakthrough.

"Since 2022, the archaeologist has been trying to track the outline of the stockade. That's one of our first goals: to establish the perimeter, see how large it was, what shape it was, and where the main gate might have been."

Challenges in Excavation

Excavating the site comes with its own set of challenges. The land was in private hands until around 2010, and much of it was actively farmed. This limited the ability to dig extensively without disrupting agricultural activities.

The Future of Camp Security

With the site's current ownership under Springettsbury Township, efforts are underway to possibly designate it as a national park. The township has been supportive, allowing archaeological investigations and public programs on the site.

Plans for Public Engagement

As archaeology uncovers more of the site, plans include developing walking trails and installing interpretive signage to educate visitors about Camp Security's historical significance.

"We're not going to try to reconstruct the site or commercialize it. We want to keep it as low maintenance as possible for the township and ensure historical accuracy."

Celebrating America’s 250th Anniversary

The upcoming 250th anniversary of the United States presents an excellent opportunity to highlight Camp Security. Plans are being made for a special celebration, possibly including reenactments, colonial music, and educational events.

"We're looking at the possibility of having some sort of celebration or recognition, probably at the small township park. We could have a nice little event."

How to Get Involved

For those interested in contributing to the preservation and study of Camp Security, there are several ways to get involved. Donations are always welcome and can be made through the Friends of Camp Security website, campsecurity.org.

You can also volunteer for the archaeological digs. While the work can be physically demanding, it offers a unique opportunity to be part of unearthing history.

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