Archeological team hard at work preserving pre-West Virginia settlement site

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BUNKER HILL, W.Va. (WDVM) — A team of archaeologists is hard at work in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle preserving the earliest history of settlement in what would eventually become the Mountain State.

Their work has implications for all of West Virginia.

Matthew Howard is an archaeologist specializing in Native American sites from Canada to Virginia. He is now excavating this settlement in West Virginia, a cabin built by Colonel Morgan and his son, Zack, in the 18th century.

“We started this archeological survey in this foundation,” said Howard, standing at the site of his dig. “This foundation dates back to the 1730s. Part of the Morgan family who were the first European settlers in Berkeley County.”

The team found artifacts from a kitchen house on the farm where women who were slaves would prepare meals for the Morgan family. 600 yards from the survey site was a trash collection with clues about the family lifestyle.

Geologist John Thornton Hillerary said, “It goes back to probably 1730, 1740. That’s what archaeology is. You can tell the age by the artifacts.”

The excavating team is facing challenges now from the Berkeley County Landmarks Committee chairman about working on a historic registered property and the perimeters of the survey site. Howard points to the community support for their research.

“We’re providing a service to the community,” Howard says. “We included the community. It’s their history, including all the artifacts that we have found belongs to this county because we want future residents to see what this structure was used for.”

Howard and Hillerary are taking care to be sure their findings are treasured for future generations to learn about West Virginia’s earliest settlements.

The archaeological team has set up a Morgan Cabin Facebook page which has attracted thousands of followers.

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