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Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

Reconstruction and Into

Reconstruction and Into the Twentieth Century During the war structures were burned, crops and livestock were commandeered, and slaves were liberated. All this combined temporarily destroy the agrarian economy of Fauquier County. Since the Union army freed the slaves a large number of farmers had no laborers to work the fields or tend to the livestock and subsequently many were forced to leave the county. The railroad became operational again in September 1865 but there was a conflict concerning which side of the river the new station would be built. It was decided that it would go on the North side of the river. By 1870 the agrarian nature of the county exceeded previous years and by the nineteenth century the county ranked third in wheat production and sixth in corn production in Virginia (Haley 1989:10). Dairy also became an important part of the economy as did horse breeding, which is still successful today. With the economic boom of the last years of the nineteenth century new and expanded road systems were built to connect farms and markets. Throughout most of the twentieth century, agribusiness remained the economic backbone of the county. In addition to planting crops such as wheat and soybean, animal husbandry has brought about great notoriety to the county, especially revolving around raising show horses. According to the 1860 census, the county totaled 21,706 (Scheel 1985:2), and in 1980 the population was not much greater than it was before the Civil War (Haley 1989:17). Although Fauquier County has continued to grow since that time much of the landscape is not that different than it was during the nineteenth century. Currently the population is estimated to be 64,997 with the recent increase in the county’s population being attributed to the development of urban centers in northern Virginia, especially Washington, D.C. Towns like Warrenton, and Bealeton have rapidly developed due to their proximities to larger cities such as Fredericksburg and the Northern Virginia Region. 22

SURVEY METHODOLOGY The goal of the archaeological survey was to identify any archaeological sites on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) within the project area. The survey methodology employed to meet this goal was chosen with regard to the project’s scope (i.e., the project’s potential to affect significant resources, should they be present), the potential of the project area to contain significant archaeological resources, and local field conditions. Based on the fact that the project area is located in a battlefield the area was judged to have very high potential for Civil War-related resources. In addition, based on the project area’s proximity to a water source it was also judged to have a high potential for prehistoric sites. Archival/Historical Research Prior to the fieldwork, archival and historical research was conducted on the project area, specifically on the first and second Battles of Rappahannock Station. To complete the research goal, Dovetail examined records at numerous repositories in the Fredericksburg area and on the World Wide Web. Agencies and repositories that were visited during the work included the Fauquier County Library, the Virginiana Room at the Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg, and the Simpson Library at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Individuals and resources at the White Oak Museum in Stafford County and the Northern Virginia District office of the National Park Service were also consulted. Online resources included the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Library of Virginia in Richmond, the DHR, and several other historical research web pages. Documents gathered during this work included maps, photographs, narratives, and general histories. Archaeological Fieldwork The archaeological survey consisted of both a pedestrian survey and subsurface testing, augmented by a metal detector survey. The pedestrian survey was performed to identify disturbed portions of the project area and any cultural features with surface visibility. Subsurface testing involved the excavation STPs within the project area. STPs were excavated at 50 foot intervals across the testable portions of the project area. Shovel tests were given sequential alphanumeric designations (e.g., STP A1). STPs were not excavated in areas of known disturbance or standing water. STPs measured approximately 12 inches in diameter and were excavated to penetrate at least 4 inches into sterile subsoil where possible. Shovel test radials were excavated at 11.4 meters 25 foot intervals in cardinal directions from shovel tests that produced cultural materials. 23

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