Bentonville slates archaeology excavation June 27-28

June 24, 2014

RALEIGH – What did the farm of John and Amy Harper look like in the 1860s? Was the slave cabin really in front of the family home? Where were the other outbuildings and outhouses (the difference is huge)? Staff members at Bentonville State Historic Site will answer to these and other commonly asked questions during an archaeological investigation June 27 and 28. The public is invited to observe 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Geographers and anthropologists from UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T State University will join archaeologists from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources for an archaeological investigation of the grounds of the circa 1855 Harper House, which was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Bentonville in 1865. Much known about the short time the house served as a hospital, however little is known about the grounds in the more than 100 years of the working Harper farm.

UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Roy Stine and a team of graduate students in March used ground penetrating radar and a magnetic gradiometer to survey the subsoil around the historic home. The ground penetrating radar indicated several areas for further investigation by the professional archaeologists.

“We are excited about the upcoming archaeology. I am cautiously optimistic about what we might find,” says Bentonville Battlefield Assistant Site Manager Derrick Brown.

Project coordinators Dr. Stine and Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz, Office of State Archaeology, will be available to answer questions from the public with other team members. Visitors can witness the tediously slow process of sifting dirt that is professional archaeology. Clues gained may allow for better interpretation of the family farm and may reveal more about the field hospital as well.

The Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21, 1865, involved 80,000 troops and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Bentonville Battlefield interprets the battlefield and the field hospital, where many Confederates were left in the aftermath.

For more information please call 910-594-0789. Bentonville Battlefield is within the Division of State Historic Sites and located at 5466 Harper House Rd., Four Oaks, N.C. It is three miles north of Newton Grove on S.R. 1008, about an hour from Raleigh and 45 minutes from Fayetteville.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of State Archives, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit