2013 Archaeology Program
Click the link below for details on the 2013 Timbuctoo Program
Timbuctoo Discovery Project
The Timbuctoo Dig was held from June 8, 2010 through July 3, 2010. We will have a review of the dig on this site in the near future.
The Timbuctoo Discovery Project
This June a team of archaeologists, community members, and other volunteers will be exploring the site of the Village of Timbuctoo on the banks of the North Branch of the Rancocas in Westampton Township, New Jersey. The Village formed the core of a community of African Americans who settled Timbuctoo in the 1820s but, for reasons that are not yet known, it appears to have been mostly vacated within fifty years. The team will be utilizing the geophysical report and map produced last year by a leading team of specialists who used ground penetrating radar and other types of remote sensing technology that revealed numerous, apparently undisturbed features underground. The focus of this season will be a select area called Feature 13 believed to be a house site with associated outbuildings and privy or well pits.
Timbuctoo is a remarkably well preserved archeological site that promises to yield valuable information about the lives of residents who lived there over 150 years ago. Many of these people fled slavery in search of freedom. We know that when the opportunity came many of the men joined the Union Army and returned to the South to fight for the freedom of their friends and families. But what was their newfound freedom like? What did they do for a living? What kinds of houses did they build? What kind of food did they eat? Little is known about these and other similar communities which is why this project is so important.
The Timbuctoo Discovery Project, a joint effort of Westampton Township, Temple University and a coalition of community members and specialists in related fields of American history, aims at answering these and many other questions in the coming years. We are seeking additional volunteers who can join the excavation for a few days or for the whole four weeks. We are also seeking contributions to help meet expenses. For more information or to volunteer contact Bill Bolger at firstname.lastname@example.org
Timbuctoo was settled in the mid-1820s by African Americans who, in gaining their freedom from enslavement, sought to establish a community in which they could, for the first time in this country, own their own land, build homes of their choosing and establish churches, schools and businesses. Located along the north bank of the North Branch of Rancocas Creek in Burlington County the site of Timbuctoo offered its residents access to tidal waters and wetlands, upland woodlands and fields and to probable employment in two major brickyards located just north of the settlement. The site consisted of a compact three acre “village” area on top of a rise of land near the creek that contained several small lots with as many as 20 houses as well as larger lots spread out along two or three adjacent roads. Some of these larger lots are still occupied today by descendants of the original settlers while the village is now an open field with no standing structures. This field offers one of the most promising opportunities in the region to study the life-ways of the Timbuctoo pioneers and their descendants. The Timbuctoo Project seeks to learn through archaeological investigation information about the houses, the use of the property, the diets and personal property. Our goal is to understand as much as we can about these people and to honor their memory by educating others about this community.