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HVVA NEWSLETTER, September 2005
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From the Editor...This summer, Eric Braymer participated in the 6-day workshop at the Dutch barn on The Palatine Farmstead in Rhinebeck, New York, helping with the restoration to stabilize and level its timber frame, cutting mortises, installing a white oak sill and hewing a timber from a red-pine log. He became interested in the barn site and the questions of the barn's original form and the changes in the land that have taken place since its construction in 1770 due to erosion from the hill side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric returned later to the barn to dig four units in the dry-laid (without mortar) south side stone-wall. He has now submitted a 34-page report, Archaeological Investigation at the Palatine Farmstead Barn Area, with photographs and text, also a 15- page listing of artifacts and 8-pages of sectional drawings. His conclusion is that there is proof that some of the barns original south side-wall foundation "remains in situ" below accumulated fill, and it corresponds to the exposed foundation of the north side-wall, both being about 12' from the center aisle.

Eric found that none of the artifacts dated before 1800, indicating that the fill had all accumulated since then and that the present stone wall was built perhaps 100-years ago, as a retaining barrier for the eroding hillside that had already invaded the barn past the original foundation. He concluded that the "best artifact may be the barn," and makes several suggestions including dendro dating the wood.

Eric is a history graduate of SUNY Albany and has worked four-years as a staff technician for Hartgen Archeological Association, Inc. His work is appreciated and will be important in planning for the barn's eventual restoration.

Those who built the Farmstead Dutch barn did not have much choice for where to locate it, as there was little flat dry land on the farm to put it on. It was unfortunately placed too close to a hill. Very often early buildings were located too close to roads and the build up of the road-bed over time causes the same sort of invasive action of soil and water.

A less noticeable invasive action that affects early buildings located away from hills and roads is the frequent build up in soil level close to the foundation. Wet cellars in many early buildings are a common problem. Soil build-up contributes to this.

Sharon Palmer, Executive Director of the Columbia County Historical Society, writes hi the spring 2005 issue of der Halve Maen. Journal of the Holland Society of New York, about recent archaeology done at the 1737 Luykas Van Allen Brick House in order to "regrade the property so water is directed away from the house." This was done over several weeks in the fall of 2004, under the direction of Matt Kirk, of Hartgen Associates. Archaeology will continue at the site through 2005. The Van Allen house, off 9H in Kinderhook, NY, is under construction this season but visitors may visit the one room schoolhouse to find out about the findings and view the artifacts of archaeology. Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 12 AM to 4 PM.

Peter Sinclair, Edtor West Hurley, Ulster County, NY

Newsletter, Part Two

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