Archeological excavation underway at Redstone Arsenal construction site

Ahead of a military construction project on Redstone Arsenal, an archeological excavation is...
Ahead of a military construction project on Redstone Arsenal, an archeological excavation is underway to preserve data before construction work impacts the site.(Redstone Arsenal)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:57 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Ahead of a military construction project on Redstone Arsenal, an archeological excavation is underway to preserve data before construction work impacts the site.

According to a press release from Redstone Arsenal, this preservation process is in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. The project is at the Fennell Plantation site that was likely occupied between 1820 and 1940. The land was previously owned by Isham Fennell.

Fennell was one of the wealthiest planters in Madison County and he purchased the plantation in 1843 to make it his primary residence, according to Redstone Arsenal’s Cultural Resource Manager, Ben Hoksbergen.

“The current excavation site was probably the location of the main house for the plantation owned by members of the Fennell family from 1843 to 1918,” Hoksbergen said in a statement.

“The plantation was subdivided and sold off in the early 20th century,” Hoksbergen added. “In 1919, Moses Love, a local African-American farmer, bought the parcel where the excavation site is located. He sold the land to the U.S. government in 1943 as part of the land acquisition for the Huntsville Arsenal.”

A small-scale excavation in 2019 uncovered a portion of a large, rectangular cellar filled with artifacts. The site became eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to Hoksbergen, all artifacts and documents related to the current project will be curated at the Erskine Ramsay Archaeological Repository in Moundsville, Alabama. Any significant artifacts and information from the site will be displayed on Redstone Arsenal or in the surrounding community.