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The 1996 Excavations at New Salem: Joshua Miller's Property


The 1996 season addressed another scatter of early 19th century artifacts found in 1994, this time in the west end of the village and directly across the street from the replica Joshua Miller Blacksmith shop. 

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A subfloor pit cellar, probably affiliated with the Miller-Kelso residence at New Salem.

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The investigations at Area DD provided evidence that the replica blacksmith shop at New Salem was probably placed just to the north of the actual site of Miller’s shop, and also that the Miller home was also very close by, southeast of the current replica.  Miller arrived in New Salem in 1829, along with wife Nancy and Jack and Hannah Kelso. The two couples may have lived at this site prior to construction of another residence elsewhere in New Salem in 1832.

Excavations at Area DD revealed a small a subfloor cellar once located beneath a residence, which produced a range of domestic artifacts predated the mid-1830s. Nearby was a basin-shaped pit probably originally constructed for storage of vegetables. Eventually, however, it became a receptacle for clinkers and coal which probably originated from a blacksmithing operation located very nearby. The shop may have been located to the southeast of this pit, where a concentration of iron fragments was encountered. 

A bone button, horn and lead gaming pieces, mouth harp, and straight pins from the cellar at Area DD.

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