Discoveries at Bushy Run

While conducting an in-depth archaeological survey, GAI unearthed new details about Bushy Run Battlefield—a National Historic Landmark where a pivotal skirmish marked a turning point in 18th century Native American uprisings. Shortly after the conclusion of the French and Indian War, Native American warriors conquered British fortifications along the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions and nearly changed the course of history.

A Place of Historical Significance

In July of 1763, Colonel Henry Bouquet led a force of approximately 400 British soldiers west from Carlisle, Pennsylvania to relieve the besieged Fort Pitt and end a series of unchecked attacks against frontier outposts. On August 5, while passing through present-day Westmoreland County, the soldiers were ambushed by the allied force of Delaware, Shawnee, Mingo, and Huron warriors—igniting the Battle of Bushy Run. The British troops defeated the Native American warriors, secured control of the Ohio River Valley, and opened the area west of the Allegheny Mountains for settlement.

New Artifacts Reveal Battleground Details

Using a National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program grant to partner with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, GAI’s Cultural Resources Group conducted historical research and archaeological investigations at Bushy Run Battlefield. Covering the “flour bag fort” area—an area where British troops had set up their camps and were victorious against Native Americans during (1763-1764)—the team discovered a number of period artifacts associated with the battle and identified boundary lines of the battle area. Additionally, resource identification studies were conducted at two hilltops—the first where the most intense fighting occurred and the second, the former South Fork of Forbes Road, the major transportation artery in the area.

The team discovered a number of period artifacts associated with the battle and identified boundary lines of the battle area.

Using metal detectors, GAI surveyed the battlefield grounds and excavated over 200 detector hits revealing five musket balls, belt buckles, horseshoes, clothing buttons, and saddle rings. These findings were later presented at a public talk held at Bushy Run Battlefield Park. Additionally, a potential hit on finding Forbes Road was uncovered through a geophysical survey depicting past activity on the ground.

While exploring Bushy Run Battlefield, the following services were provided:

  • Historical Research
  • Archaeological Investigations
  • Archival Research
  • GIS Mapping
  • Archaeological Assessment
  • Laboratory Artifact Analysis
  • Draft and Final Archaeological Reports

GAI’s Cultural Resources Group provides innovative services in historic, prehistoric, and urban archaeology, architectural history, and historic preservation. For more information regarding the Bushy Run Battlefield project, contact Assistant Vice President/Senior Director Ben Resnick, MA, MBA, RPA at 412.476.2000.

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