Friday, February 02, 2007

On Vauban's French forts to be placed on World Heritage list.

I was thinking of stating on the petition to save Fort Pitt that's been discussed on the list how much it reminded me of Fort McHenry ("...was originally called Fort Whetstone" on the point named after it) and this must be the reason and thanks to discussion I know a little bit more why. See: United States Plans

Edward Rutsch, from the "Society for Industrial Archeology" once gave an interesting lecture on Fort McHenry in Baltimore (a bridge may run over it yet) and then it was where I then found myself excavating in the summer before grad school for the US NPS. He was very interested in why it was flooding and quite sure that the history around it where it may have drained. It once had to have water brought to it every day, (a well dug just before the War 1812 bombardment thought for revenge of the invasion of the fort near what's today Toronto on Lake Ontario, where the bombproof blew up killing Zebulon Pike) and during the Depression CCC days the "weep holes" in the ramparts had been filled and much of the masonry "pointed" perhaps rather than "repointed".

I wonder having worked in another perhaps Vauban apparently inspired fort, Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York City's harbor (for geoarchaeology) built it's said by Columbia University students, in thankfulness to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, from the "Jay Treaty".  They were once downtown vs. uptown today where former President D.D. Eisenhower was once its president. We discovered a sort of hardened clay surface in the earthen mound of the moat (dry today) that might have been part of the earthwork construction using burnt embers to harden a clay surface to carry or cart the earth by the "Anglos". Fort Jay was also once under the US Army called Fort Columbus, before the Coast Guard, which has since left and there's interesting eagle ornamentation on some of the surrounding buildings, some facing "dexter" (right) and others "sinister" (left), representing the different armed services and different occupations. Even Walt Disney served there once I was told. 

There's a small brass cannon on top of the rampart of Fort McHenry pointing out at the harbor where the British Navy was just out of range of the American guns it states I think, a gift from the French government. Merci! (Posted to histarch the forum of Historical Archaeology.)

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