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Geophysical Survey to be Conducted in Search of Camp Security Site

The Friends of Camp Security recently entered into an agreement with Shippensburg University’s Department of Geography-Earth Science to undertake a geophysical study, utilizing ground penetrating radar (GPR), electromagnetic, and soil resistivity methods to investigate part of the area preserved as the site of Camp Security in SpringettsburyTownship, York County. Camp Security, the last surviving Revolutionary War prison camp that has not been completely lost to development housed British prisoners and some of their families 1781-1783.

Shippensburg University students and faculty, assisted by local volunteers, will grid the project area into transects spaced 25 feet apart. Ideally, data collection will be timed to take advantage of dry soils, allowing electrical methods to better detect contrasts in the physical properties of underlying deep soil layers. When unusual below-ground soil disturbances are identified, closer grid intervals will be used to define the extent of the disturbance.

The target of the study includes any type of deep soil disturbance created by camp activities. It is known that a sizeable stockade was constructed to contain many of the prisoners brought into the camp. Construction of the stockade required excavation of a deep trench into which stockade posts were stood; it is expected that evidence of the trench survives and can be detected with geophysical techniques. The location of latrine pits and wells could also be detected.

This exciting project will be conducted during the months of December, January, and February, with final report to be delivered to the Friends of Camp Security by the end of March 2018. A map depicting the exact locations of detected anomalies will be one of the products of the study. Because a geophysical survey cannot discriminate between recent soil disturbances and those created over 225 years ago, a follow-up archaeology investigation is required to assess discovered targets. Fundraising efforts by the Friends of Camp Security will continue to make these further archaeology explorations possible.