DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
National Park Service
Address only WASBINGTON The Director, National Park Service
February 15, 1940.
BRANCH OF HISTORIC SITES TECHNICAL COMMENT:
Review of TERRIEIIN CONSTRUCTION FORT MARION NATIONAL MONUMENT by Albert C. Manucy, Junior Research Technician.
The terreplein at Fort .arion was an artificially filled roofway over rooms built behind the curtains of the fort constructed in the
late 17th century. The old rooms had been torn down in the middle of
the 18th century and the terreplein fill made at that time. _ortar
and paving blocks (concrete tile) were added in the 19th century.
Mr. Manucy's report details these items of constructional history;
he reports in cianera the findings of three test-Dit investiations
made into the terreplein fill in 1939 and gies the historical documentation for some of the features uncovered. The terreplein has now been plated with concrete blocks, a permanent protective cover, and :
SrMr. Manucy provides the best possible historical justification for the
The statement of technical objectives in the investigatory phase of the terreplein is inadequate (page 6 of the report;) or rather,
study of the methods and procedures adopted clearly show that not enough*
investigation and recording was done to enable complete observations
to be made on features in the terreplein fill which might have thrown more light on architecture, constructional history, or even the actual
occupation of the fort during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
WJhat assurance, for instance, is there that "finds" similar to the
American Period gun traverse (northeast bastion), or the sentry box in the southeast bartizan, might not have been uncovered elsewhere, had a
systematic archaeological investigation been made of the whole terreplein
Little in the way of artifactual material was recovered but some
interesting materials are mentioned in the report, i.e. cannon balls.
Apparently there was no catalogue of artifacts made, with notes
on provenience. A footnote to Mr. Manucy're report, page 18, gives a
clue: "according to the contractors (Kendrick engineering Company, St. Augustine,Florida), artifacts were found in the rubble forming the fill between the east curtain walls of the fort. In 1935, when workmen were tunneling through the wall in construction of the rest room facilities, a number of artifacts in the shape of fish bones,etc.
were found. These remains were presumably the remains of a 17th century lunch."
Empirically, research investigations in the National Park Service on sites of unit areas examined for data calculated to assist in restoration or reconstruction of historical features, have demonstrated that -rocedure should allow for four distinct phases or stages in operation:
1) There should be a preliminary historical survey of all
the documentary sources and other pertinent data serving to indicate what might be expected to be found in the second stage of*
2) The archaeological investigation should be set up as
a separate undertaking, not carried out incidentally, as a
minor excavation by the engineers or contractors engaged in construction. A technician trained in excavation technique,
the uncovering, describing,,cataloguing, photographing and cross-,
referencing of historic-archaeological architectural features
found in sites, should be in active supervision of the job. .All
architectural evidence should be recorded and interpreted by a
trained historical architect.
3) A report should be prepared on the basis of the preliminary historical studies, and the archaeological and architectural findings; which will provide justification with plans,
drawings, full assembly of all substantiative data, of the pro- posed restoration or reconstruction of an historical feature.
4) On completion of the restoration or reconsturction, a
final report should be made. This report might be called a.
"Developed Unit Report", and should include everything, historical,
archaeological or architectural, relating to the restored or reconstructed historical feature.
Mr. Manucyts present report represents stage 4 in the procedure outlined. The other phases in the investigation of the terreplein have been fused in operation and badly coordinated. All of this must have added to the historical technician's difficulties in writing a Developed Unit report.
Admittedly, it is unfair criticism to present an ideal procedure developed empirically, -which has come to be generally recognized and applied subsequent to or current with the inception of a project. The problem of procedure as outlined was discussed widely in the technicians' meeting in Mic-mond, Virginia in the spring of 1939. The present technical comment is- written primarily as a file record to help determine more precisely the mos t advantagous steps in investigator procedure where historical features are to be restored or reconstructed on the ground. The general principles are familiar to most Service officials. There still exists, however, some uncertainity as to the application of a given procedure to the condit ons of the different projects. further requirements of procedure, based on enmirical results still in process of accumul._-tion, are bound to add some, confusion. 31arification ill come from constructive criticism in the field, concrete technical comments in the regional and 'ashin:ton offices;, stand in open discussions between both technical and administrative officers-aiming at a clearer definition and aplication of procedural principles to specific job situat ions.
(signed; A. R. Kelly,
ark:mh Chief, Archaeologic Site Division.. cc: RegionJ,
Coordinating Supt. Fort Marion.