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Project Brings History to Life

History is being brought to life in the Pine Barrens where some Monmouth University students are investigating the archeology of the Cedar Bridge Tavern and a settlement in Barnegat, dating back to the 1700’s. 

Flickr User JulieFinestone

Anthropology Professors Richard Veit and Sean McHugh are leading a team of about 25 students in a dig over the next several Saturdays through July 5th while the structure is restored as a museum and cultural center. “This is a building probably built in the late 1700’s or very early 1800’s. It’s still intact. It’s going to be restored by Ocean County Parks and the archeology is part of the restoration process,” said Veit.

A road was there before the tavern and a community with a sawmill on a pond. “One of the things we’re trying to determine through the archeology is just how old the building and the settlement are,” Veit said, adding the archeology provides another source of information.

The dig kicked off on Saturday, June 7, with a productive start, according to Veit, “Right off the bat we started running across artifacts from the 1700’s and 1800’s.”  He said the unearthed artifacts include fish bones, which may have been among the foods people were eating at the tavern as they traveled across New Jersey from Philadelphia to Tuckerton.

Veit described the area as an exceptional site and a great opportunity to learn more about life in early America, “It’s sort of fun to be there holding artifacts that no one has touched in maybe 150 or 200 years and thinking about how different their lives were from our lives today, though we’re in the same exact spot where they were standing,” he said.


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