Nail chronology as an aid to dating old buildings

24-Jan-2018 17:19 by 3 Comments

Nail chronology as an aid to dating old buildings

We found this at a depth of about three feet below the current ground surface.

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We found fragments of what appeared to be coffin wood in an advanced state of decomposition as well as what appeared to be several highly corroded coffin nails in association with the skeleton.

While written accounts indicate that epidemics of typhoid and smallpox plagued the Bethlehem hospital, it is impossible to determine solely on the basis of osteological indicators whether the three individuals died as a result of these or another highly contagious disease.

This is because these are relatively fast acting diseases which rarely affect bone, with death usually occurring before a bony response is produced. Humpf felt it highly likely that these three individuals died from an epidemic disease.

A construction crew unearthed the remains and the homeowner promptly notified local authorities.

Once the coroner determined the skeleton was “very old” and had been in the ground for quite a while, city officials contacted the PHMC seeking assistance, as they believed the remains had historic significance. Dorothy Humpf and I, staff archaeologists with the Bureau for Historic Preservation, were dispatched to Bethlehem for one day to examine the recovered human remains.

Today, this building is still in use as part of the Music Department of Moravian College.

If its walls could talk, what sad stories would be told.We visually examined a six-foot tall wall of earth which had been created by mechanical excavations into a sloping hillside.Soon we identified a second skeleton, fully articulated.Measurements of the available long bones suggest the two older individuals stood about 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall respectively.In sum, the age and sex structure of the three individuals is consistent with the demographic profile that would be expected from a burial ground for Revolutionary War soldiers. Humpf found no evidence of traumatic injuries or other bone lesions on any of the three individuals.Having learned a little of the history of the area, Dr.

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