Archaeologists race clock as they uncover Colonial fort
WINDHAM, Maine (AP) — Archaeologists are racing the clock to dig up the remains of a fort from the 1700s.
The remains Province Fort are covered by a road in the Maine community of Windham, and archaeologists have a narrow window to check out the site during road work. The road is being widened and repaved.
Province Fort was built during the Colonial era in what’s now Windham to protect settlers from Native Americans who opposed their encroachment, the Maine Historical Preservation Commission said.
Archaeologists already found bases of chimneys, walls, bottles and pottery.
Archaeologist John Mosher said he and others were worried there was nothing left at the site. But what they’ve found, he said, has been “absolutely amazing.”
But time is of the essence. “There’s no time really for finesse. It’s get this exposed, see what it is, take photos, move on,” Mosher said.
The fort was aimed at protecting settlers at a time of tension between local tribes and encroaching settlers, and between the English and the French. It was near completion when war was declared in 1744, and was dismantled several decades later.
The fort site is near the Parson Smith House, where the town’s first minister lived. Archaeological test pits were first dug there in search of the fort in 1979.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Mosher and his team found wall segments and chimney bases while digging under the shoulders on either side of the River Road.
With the road now removed, archaeologists can take a closer look. But they have only a few weeks before road crews return to repave and expand the road.