National park exhibit opens with loaned Hanscom artifacts
By Mark Wyatt, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
/ Published August 30, 2018
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A new Revolutionary War exhibit at the Minute Man National Park in Concord, Massachusetts, includes artifacts discovered on the installation during archaeological surveys conducted more than 10 years ago.
Three musket balls, a musket ball bullet mold and a Fascine Knife, or bill hook, an item used to clear brush, are among the items on display.
“Starting in the mid-1990s, the Air Force conducted several archaeological reconnaissance surveys to identify areas of potential significance,” said Scott Sheehan, CE environmental engineer. “Because of Hanscom’s proximity to many Revolutionary War battles, a specialized survey using metal detectors followed by field excavation was conducted in areas having the potential to contain battlefield debris.”
Hanscom Air Force Base is located near the site of a battle called Parker’s Revenge, estimated to be about 100 yards from the base property. The battle took place the day the revolution started on April 19, 1775. Capt. John Parker, commander of the Lexington militia, led his men to the western town line, seeking revenge for the casualties that morning on Lexington Green.
According to survey findings, activities associated with Parker’s Revenge likely occurred on land that is now part of Hanscom.
Hanscom officials loaned eight of the items to Minute Man National Historical Park during a ceremony in the Brown Building lobby on Oct. 3, 2012.
Archaeologists also discovered a colonial shoe buckle, small rake and a half-ox shoe.
The donation occurred as the park was embarking on its own archeological study, known as Parker’s Revenge Archaeological Project.
“What we learned with the Parker’s Revenge project is that history is not static, as we can use technology to reveal new discoveries,” said Leslie Obleschuk, Minute Man National Historical Park chief of Interpretation and Education, who oversaw the development and design of the exhibit.
The Parker’s Revenge exhibit includes the opportunity for visitors to explore the actual site where this history happened.
The project included several local historical organizations, such as Minute Man National Historical Park, Lexington Minute Men, National Park Service Northeast Regional Archeological Program and the nonprofit Friends of Minute Man National Park.
“The battle was so incredibly heroic, it cried out to be documented and retold to future generations,” said Robert Morris, president of the Friends of Minute Man National Park. “It’s such a story in heroism that now will be told to visitors to the park.”
Archaeologist Dr. Meg Watters will share details about the Parker’s Revenge Archaeology Project Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. at the park's visitor center.
To learn more about the exhibit, and other Revolutionary War-era history, go to www.nps.gov/mima or visit the Minute Man Visitor Center on Route 2A.