Wanted: People who enjoy digging in the dirt for artifacts that could be more than 200 years old and who are willing to work under a blazing sun.

If you fit the bill, a local preservation group planning an archaeological dig at the Revolutionary War-era Camp Security later this year wants to hear from you.

"You're going to be on your knees quite a bit. You're going to be out in the sun," said Steve Warfel, an archaeologist who previously worked for the state. "We need to look for all the telltale signs that have been left behind for us."

The dig, the first major one at the site along Locust Grove Road in Springettsbury Township in 35 years, is slated to get under way on Aug. 25.

In the meantime, preservation group Friends of Camp Security and Warfel are hoping to recruit volunteer amateur archaeologists.

The meeting: More than 40 people turned out for a recent meeting at the Springettsbury Township municipal building to plan for the dig.

Phyllis Millard of Dover Township said she plans to lend a hand during the lab phase, during which volunteers will clean and organize artifacts that may be found, of the project.

"I don't know if I can get down on the ground," she said. "I think I can use a toothbrush, though."

Attendees who live near the camp were asked to bring could-be artifacts they found in the ground at their homes to the meeting. One resident presented a horseshoe he found to Carol Tanzola, president of the preservation group.


"It could be from a plow horse. Who knows?," she said.

Tanzola said she plans to have the horseshoe examined by a blacksmith to see if it can be dated.

The dig: Little is known about the camp that was used from 1781 to 1783 to house about 1,500 British prisoners of war and their families.

But all that could change with the help of the volunteers during the dig, funded partly by a nearly $10,000 grant from the National Trust of Historic Preservation.

Volunteers are needed to help with fieldwork in three- or six-hour shifts weekdays from Aug. 25 to Sept. 29. Lab work will happen the week after the dig.

During the dig, volunteers will focus on a hot spot found by a magnetometer near a spring believed to be used by those at the camp, Warfel said.

"So we don't know if there's anything there or not ... but it appears promising," Warfel said.

Volunteers familiar with metal detectors are also needed to conduct a sweep of the area prior to the dig, he said.

Though the field has been plowed for over 200 years since its wartime use, Warfel said the odds are great artifacts are still in the ground.

"We could leave with bags full of artifacts or we could leave with nothing. I prefer the bags full," he said. "We need to fully excavate an area before we can write it off."

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

Volunteer information: Volunteers for the archaeological dig must be at least 16 years old to participate. Fieldwork shifts will run from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. weekday from Aug. 25 to 29 and from Sept. 2 to 29. Lab work is from Oct. 6 to 10.

Tools will be provided, but volunteers should bring water, and those who sign up for a full-day shift should bring a lunch.

Volunteers must fill out a registration form and a liability waiver, which can be obtained by contacting Steve Warfel at sgwarfel@yahoo.com, or (717) 319-9793.

Forms must be returned no later than Aug. 1.