Winter excavations at the Troutman site.

Winter excavations at the Troutman site.

by Bernard K. Means

On Veterans Day 1937, the WPA field crew under the direction of Edgar Augustine was laboring at the Troutman site, a Monongahela village site notable for a large number of interred individuals–50 people in 48 graves.  Augustine was clearly exasperated this day with the WPA bureaucracy–particularly related to the issue of additional funding to carry the Somerset County, Pennsylvania, work crew through the winter months.  From a letter written to State Archaeologist Donald Cadzow on November 11, 1937, Augustine refers to the “Whoops Progress,” “Whoops office,” and the fact that “We have not had any word from the Whoops office in Johnstown relative to more money.”

Nonetheless, despite his frustrations, Augustine does summarize their findings to date at Troutman:

To get back to Troutman and Whoops we submit the enclosed tabulation of junk recovered during the first work period. Four burials were new born babies, the fifth a child probably 10-12 years old. The skull was uncrushed and skeleton complete, lying on back, head south, face west, semi flexed right. two small tubular shell beads. Storage houses oval. well post holed. Palisade 225 feet diameter, open 8 feet west site. Post holes numerous but we have not worked enough area to begin locating houses.

Augustine also notes that Cadzow is planning to publish “Two Somerset Sites,” a work that was later expanded to include a third site and used by Mary Butler to define the Monongahela Woodland Culture.

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