Excavation at Fort Harmony
BYU Professor Rich Talbot
Hear his concept on
on the excavation procedures
Click here to view the Video
(High speed Internet connection required)
The first dig was accomplished in five days with 225 hours of donated time. The BYU archeological crew expressed how impressed they were with the work everyone had done.

This first dig was extremely successful in that part of the southwest wall was uncovered and basically it was found intact except for the fireplace mantel piece that showed what happened when the Fort walls began to disintegrate. It appeared to be in the same position it was 150 years ago when the Fort collapsed.

This is the side of the Fort that was two stories high before the collapse in 1863.
Two rooms to the north of this photo (on the right) was occupied by one of Lee's wives, Martha Lee and her two children. They were killed when the walls fell in from the heavy rains.


With shovels, brushes, and trowels the earth is carefully removed layer by layer

This dig took them down to the floor of the Fort.  They estimate that there is anywhere from 8 inches to 3 feet of silt on the floor.  That is a lot of dirt when consideedr that the Fort was 200 feet square with 12 rooms on each side of the Fort. The walls were two feet thick. 

Karen and Rachelle carefully sift through each bucket of dirt in hopes of finding something of the past that will tell us more about the Fort and the early pioneers.

Over 100 artifacts were uncovered during this dig.

Several artifacts of interest were found, beautiful shards of English china or dinnerware, a ladies monocle, the glass was broken and the frame was rusted but it was still intact after 150 years,
Buttons were found, bullet casings, rusted pan lid and other rusted metal and even a tiny hook used in sewing with another instrument that looked like a fabric punch. 
One of the many square nails found
The excavation revealved an interesting construction concept of the individual rooms. They found that there was one shared chimney and that each room had it's own fireplace box. There were also some rough sawn lumber still intact on the floor by the fireplace. 
Rough sawn wood found near fireplace
This view shows the room divider with one of the fireboxes exposed on the right side

The BYU Archeological Crew


A full report on thist first excavation is now in print and available from the Office of Public Aarchaeology - Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young Universtiy, Ask for the "Report of Excavations at the Fort Harmony Site, Technical Series # 08-1

Beisdes giving a full reprot of their findings at the fort this 52 page report offers an excellent historicl background including excerpts from pioneer diaries. An excellent read for those seeking advance knowledge of the history and the peole of the fort.

Photo and Video Credits:
Roger Simister, Lyman & Karen Platt,
and Rachelle Colvin
Fort Harmony Home Page The History The Restoration