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Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Gabrielle M. Lanier
Debbie C. Sturm
Fort Harrison is a historic home located in Rockingham County, Virginia. Occupation of the site began in 1749, when Daniel Harrison constructed the original limestone dwelling, and today it is protected and interpreted by Fort Harrison, Inc. The Department of Anthropology at James Madison University has performed exploratory archaeological fieldwork to better document change in the way the site has been utilized.
This project has evaluated the hypothesis that the main (front) entrance to the house was relocated from the northerly-facing side to the southerly-facing side, in conjunction with the decision to enlarge the structure. Archaeological findings and architectural evidence are supportive of the original hypothesis and the ultimate goal is to answer why the house was reoriented.
Artifact distributions across the site show how activity areas shifted over time. Earlier activity areas are south of the dwelling and more recent activity areas are located north of the dwelling. Also, a major, secondary structure is documented at the current front side of the Harrison dwelling. There may be multiple reasons for the change in orientation. One reason that is favorable is that as road systems were developing and the overall cultural landscape was evolving, the front entrance was moved to the side of the structure that faced the road and downtown Dayton.
Bergstresser, Rachel Nicole, "An archaeological perspective on architectural evolution at Fort Harrison" (2018). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019. 604.