Third foundation found in court circle

by Kim Robins - Posted on Aug 03, 2011 - 04:11 PM

The Gloucester Main Street improvement project that uncovered the remnants of two 18th century buildings last month revealed the foundation of a third colonial-era structure Tuesday, this one inside the court circle.

While some of the county’s earliest and most historically significant structures are laid bare, local officials have approved further excavations and the opening of the sites to the public.

The third foundation was discovered by construction workers trenching to lay conduit for new fiber optic cable and electrical lines behind the colonial courthouse. "It’s clearly a colonial foundation, most likely predating the courthouse, and laid in English bond with oyster shell mortar," said David Brown, one of two archaeologists retained to monitor construction work in the historic area.

On Tuesday, Brown was busy hand-shoveling away a layer of late 19th/early 20th century slate and coal ash from the top of the third foundation. The slate remnants, he said, resulted from the replacement of the slate roof that once covered the court building. The ash was likely tossed out the window after the cleaning of a coal stove.