Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Excavation site yields historical clues

The Elk Run Church excavation site in Fauquier County is the topic of a lecture at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the John Barton Payne Building,Warrenton.

This is the third lecture in a year-long series on American history sponsored by the library and the newly formed Fauquier Heritage Institute. The lectures are free.

Col. Edward Dandar, chairman of the Elk Run Church Site Preservation Committee, and Dr. John Eddins, the project's archaeologist, will present the program.

Settlers first arrived in the Elk Run area around 1715. The site is significant because it was the first brick Anglican church established in what was the county's frontier area in the early to mid-1700s.
The church began as a wooden structure in the 1740s and was later rebuilt in brick with a 4-foot-wide stone foundation in the form of a Greek cross. The church congregation declined after the Revolutionary War and was abandoned in the early 1800s. The site was overgrown until recently, and the church's foundation and artifacts were hidden from view for about 200 years.

Col. Dandar has been the chairman of the Elk Run Church Site Preservation Committee since 1999. He is a retired colonel in the Active Army Reserve with 30 years service and is a veteran of the Vietnam war, Panama's Just Cause Operation, Desert Storm, and the 1991 Provide Comfort humanitarian operation in northern Irag. He retired as a senior civilian military intelligence officer with nearly 40 years with the Department of Army.
Dr. Eddins is a program analyst in the Office of Federal Agency Programs at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). He has served as an ACHP liaison to the U.S. Army at its environmental center, worked at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and at several private consulting firms engaged in cultural resource management. He has conducted archaeological investigations at prehistoric sites and at rural, urban, military, and industrial historic sites dating from the late 18th century through the 20th century.