In August 2021, the New York State Museum acquired 200 artifacts from the LAMAR Institute in Savannah, Georgia. These artifacts are the result of the only systematic archaeological study of three Revolutionary War battlefield sites on the north shore of Long Island.
Fort Franklin Battlefield (July 1781), Setauket Battlefield (August 1777), and Fort Slongo Battlefield (October 1781) were surveyed in 2019 as part of an American Battlefield Protection Program Planning grant awarded to the LAMAR Institute. The sites were surveyed to identify battlefield components using current best practice standards in military archaeology including historical research, KOCOA analysis, LIDAR, GPR, metal detector survey and mapping, test excavation, and collector interviews. A variety of military and domestic artifacts were collected during the surveys including musket balls, grape shot, buttons, buckles, horse tack, and other objects. Roughly 200 artifacts were retained from the survey and the volume of the collection is 2 cubic feet including correspondence, documentation, and field notes.
The most definitive evidence of military action was recovered from the Slongo and Franklin surveys. Primarily domestic material was recovered from Setauket and may be related to the fort rather than the battle. The area where these battles took place is now mostly residential suburbia. This is the first systematic archaeological battlefield survey of these sites and contributes important information about the role of Long Island in the war. These artifacts complement our existing military collections and provide scarce comparative material from these ephemeral sites.