A story was published in the news outlet The City today about our effort to study the grounds of Fort No. 2, which faces imminent development. The reporter did a good job digging into a complex story but I would make one correction. Although Reginald Pelham Bolton did find and document artifacts that were dug up on the site, a Hessian diary was never found there (I believe she is correcting that currently).
One thing I would add is that, speaking for myself, I do not oppose building homes on the site. But if the area is going to be torn up, what is the harm in allowing an archaeological team in beforehand to study what is there (without restrictions that would negate the efficacy of such a study)? The developer was only willing to let us on the land to dig five small holes after getting a 2 million dollar insurance policy. On top of that we would be forbidden from photographing anything and we would never be able to write about our findings without seeking the developer’s permission. It is as if they wanted to be able to deny anything ever occurred. The archaeologist we were consulting with referred to these conditions as “unethical” as they run contrary to the tradition of free exchange of ideas among academics. The crazy thing is that, according to what they proposed, we would have to get their permission to talk about our findings for the rest of our lives–there was no sunset provision for this requirement.
Too bad. I really was hoping to work with them but it was just too much.