Archeological Testing at the Miller House Site (11SG1318) Lincoln Home National Historic Site (LIHO), Illinois

Author(s): William J. Hunt, Jr.

Year: 2007


Test excavations at the Miller House site in Lincoln Home National Historic Site (LIHO), were undertaken in response to National Park Service (NPS) plans to restore and reconstruct the house to its original circa 1860 appearance. The scale of the construction is such that there is potential for considerable ground disturbance. This, in an archeological site which historical documentation and small-scale archeological investigations have demonstrated to contain or potentially contain intact deposits and remnants of secondary structures and features such as barns, cisterns, wells, summer kitchen, walkways, etc. The primary purpose of this investigation was to obtain architectural information important to completion of the Historic Structures Report or HSR prepared by Quinn Evans/Architects (2006). The archeological team also sought to clarify the potential range of archeological resources (stratigraphy, features, and artifacts) in the lot and their locations. Of particular investigative priority was "ground truthing" or determining the source of anomalies identified by Steve DeVore during his geophysical inventory of the site (De Yore 2006). Most notable were data from electrical conductivity and ground penetrating radar (OPR) surveys suggesting a possible cistern next to the house at its southeast corner and two possible privies immediately south of the backyard

boardwalk. Approximately 25 m2 of the site was investigated using 6 backhoe trenches and 13 test units. Among the findings were that the cultural stratigraphy at the back of the house was much more complex and continued to a much greater depth than that in the front. This investigation confirmed the original ground surface at 90 to 97 cm below 25 cultural strata reflecting sixteen historic (circa 1858-1920s) and nine modern events. At least nine features were identified which included elements of three of the five porches documented in historic records, a cistern at the southwest corner of the house, as well as stone and brick walks. While the tests were unable to confirm privy pits and cisterns at locations predicted from geophysical anomalies, elements of a small burned building was identified

at the proposed privy locations. Artifacts were found to be in abundance, especially in the back (west) yard with 2162 objects recovered overall. Functionally, the artifacts are associated with architectural, domestic, group services, and personal functions. One prehistoric item was recovered from a late 19th historic context had been brought into the site from an unknown location. A condition assessment of the site found it to be in good condition. The disturbance effect level at present is considered to be "Low" but the site is tlu'eatened by massive disturbance of archeological resources by the National Park Service during the partial razing and reconstruction of the Miller House. Without some mitigative action, the disturbance effect level could easily deteriorate to "Severe" or "Destroyed." The site was found to be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D.

Cite this Record

Archeological Testing at the Miller House Site (11SG1318) Lincoln Home National Historic Site (LIHO), Illinois. William J. Hunt, Jr.. Lincoln, Nebraska: Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. 2007 ( tDAR id: 375655) ; doi:10.6067/XCV84J0DT6

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -89.671; min lat: 39.775 ; max long: -89.634; max lat: 39.818 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Brennan J. Dolan

Sponsor(s): Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service

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