Time Warner Cable News: Archaeological Dig Taking Place at Old Salem

twc_videoWINSTON-SALEM — Archaeologists are digging up the past to fill in some blanks in the history books. Experts have been uncovering the site of Old Salem’s first building, known as the Builder’s House, built in 1766.

A team of three archaeologists are sifting through North Carolina’s clay to find out more about Salem’s first building. According to records of the Moravians, workmen from Bethabara and Bethania arrived in 1766 and constructed the “Builder’s House.”

“The first structure that they built was a log cabin, 22 feet by 26 feet, and it was primarily to house them as they worked on constructing the first houses in what would become Salem,” said Geoffrey Hughes, field director at Old Salem dig site.

The land has been the site of previous digs over the last nine years. This season’s dig, archaeologists are trying to answer a new question.

“One thing that we have not known from the previous excavation and our question that we’ve had for many years is where was the fireplace? We have known that there was a significant fireplace in this building in 1857,” said Dr. Michael Hartley, director of Archeology Old Salem.

Judging by the artifacts found in a darkened area of the dig site, they found their answer.

“We were able to locate a feature that matches much of that description. It’s located where we expected about in the middle of the southern wall,” said Hughes.

Hughes shows us other treasures found underground that help paint an even broader picture.

“Those particular artifacts they help us to date the site but they also give us insight into the daily lives of people in the past. So, by looking at the artifacts we can look at what kinds of choices they were making,” said Hughes.

Another dig and more answers to questions about the one of the oldest settlements in our area.

Next year is the 250th anniversary of Old Salem and experts say the Builder’s House is going to be the focal point of the celebration.

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