Revolutionary War artifacts found at Lake George burial site

Local

Construction at a site in Lake George is still on pause after what was initially believed to be a solitary gravesite turned out to be so much more.

Snow was cleared from the site at 90 Courtland where as many as 11 sets of skeletal remains were unearthed. The discovery of two military buttons is giving better insight into who they may have been.

The pair of Revolutionary War buttons are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, but they’re the biggest clue yet in the unexpected discovery of a centuries-old burial site.

“Could this row of people all have been buried of the American Revolution? Could they all have been American patriots?  In which case, this would become a very exciting important site,” said archaeologist Dr. David Starbuck.

Last week, a construction crew working on an apartment build saw bones, and the experts were called in. Dr. Starbuck first believed a solitary gravesite had been uncovered, but that soon changed when a row of burials was discovered.

A pair of pewter buttons inscribed with “First Battalion Pennsylvania” remain the only artifacts that can date the gravesite before more testing can be done. Pressing pause on a $2 million dollar investment means a great deal of financial pressure for the property owners.

“The financial costs are threatening bankruptcy, this is a staggering amount of money,” said Mike Borgos, an attorney for the Ellsworths, who are building on the site.  

“And the touchstone we keep coming back to is do the right thing,” he said.

He says it could mean a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars but that the moral obligation outweighs the cost.

A group of experienced archaeologists will be back on site Thursday searching for any additional remains or artifacts. The State Museum’s study of the remains may take several months.

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