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Archaeological dig planned at Colonial-era Huntington arsenal

Colonial Arsenal Museum in Huntington is shown in

Colonial Arsenal Museum in Huntington is shown in 2012. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

A treasure hunt is about to take place in the Town of Huntington.

The town board last week approved an archaeological study at the Colonial Arsenal on Park Avenue, just north of Woodhull Road.

In 1775, local militia stored gunpowder, kettles, tents and other supplies there in the tiny house now known as the Arsenal.

A study at the site in 2006 did not include a look at the area beneath a detached garage, which has since been removed to build a pavilion to house the town's replica Revolutionary War-era whaleboat.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said any artifacts related to the Colonial era or the arsenal "certainly would be something the residents in our town would be interested in because of the historical, intrinsic and/or even monetary value. And it would be fun to find something."

The study, which does not yet have a launch date, will be conducted by Monroe-based Tracker Archaeology Services, which did the 2006 study. The board approved a $2,000 contract 5-0 at last week's town board meeting.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation requires the study because the construction of the pavilion involves ground disturbance, town officials said.

Town historian Robert Hughes said the previous archaeological study did not unearth anything of historical significance, but the removal of the garage presents a new opportunity to look at the site.

"There was an outhouse there, and sometimes you do find some interesting things in old outhouses," he said. "So we'll just have to see what turns up."

The Arsenal was built in 1740 as a granary and converted into a home in 1748. In 1776, in preparation for the Battle of Long Island, militia members went there to get extra ammunition. While the house served only a few years in a military capacity, it is the only known Colonial-era arsenal left on Long Island.

The town purchased it in 1974 and it was restored in 2011.

Construction of the 25-foot-long, 6-foot-wide whaleboat, the Henry Scudder, began in 1975, and it was retired from service in 2011 after years of participation in historical events.


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