Montgomery Site

The Montgomery site (36CH60) is a Historic period site (AD 1700-1733) in Chester County, Pennsylvania, excavated by Marshall Becker of West Chester University in 1978 with the permission of the landowner. Site materials were donated to the State Museum of Pennsylvania (SMOP), which stated in its Federal Register Notirce of Inventory Completion that it has 15 burials and 2006 funerary objects.

Reports on the site include Red Man on the Brandywine (C.A. Weslager, 1953); “Lenape Archaeology: Ethnohistoric and Archaeological Data on Lenape Sites as Revealed by the 1978 Project” (M.J. Becker, 1978, PHMC Manuscript #4, presumably at the State Museum of Pennsylvania [SMOP]); and “Montgomery Site 36CH60–Late Contact Lenape (Delaware) Site in Wallace Township, Chester Co.” (M.J. Becker, 1978, PHMC Manuscript #7, presumably at the State Museum of Pennsylvania). There are several other “grey literature” reports by Marshall Becker which have been cited but not physically located.

The site is mentioned by Becker in several other publications, including one where he states that (unlike what is stated in the main site report) there were 22 burials rather than 15. He states, “The number of graves at the Montgomery Site appears to be twenty-two, and that would be about the number expected at Northbrook” (Keystone Folklore: A Publication of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society Vol 4, No 2, Summer 1992, page 11).

The main site report states that there was a re-excavation of a burial exposed by Weslager in 1952. This burial had numerous funerary objects of period 1720-40, which do not seem to be listed at State Museum but may be described in File Box II at the Chester County Historical Society. This burial was found, along with 2 other burials, in a NE-SW test trench along the western margin of a stone pile; implication is that this Weslager burial is Burial 1, but that is not totally clear.

The report states about this burial:

Two stones are said to have served as a “pillow,” and the floor of the grave was said to be paved with stones. The artifacts included: 3 kaolin pipes, 2 gun flints, 61 glass beads, a brass button, and several rusted pieces of iron (a pocket knife and container?). Beads, of the wire wound type 1720-40, were found round the neck (Becker site report, pg 20).

The map at back of the report shows all burials are oriented E-W. Burial 3 is only 55 cm deep. Becker notes bad preservation of bone, with remains of children preserved worst of all. Two of the 15 burials were in coffins. Three “proximal” burials were the most elaborate and near each other.

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