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Neff & Gampp Cheese Factory Site Material Culture

A total of 7,521 historic artifacts and 3 prehistoric artifacts were recovered from both fill and natural horizon soils. These materials were found unevenly distributed throughout the Phase 2 testing area. The vast majority of surface debris was observed within the vicinity of MDS 81’s footprint, and included the building’s foundations themselves, as well as portions of the building’s collapsed upper floors that filled the foundation pit.  This infill consisted of well preserved wood beams, boards, asphalt roofing tiles, and to a lesser extent, metal building hardware. 

Outside of the building’s footprint, surface debris associated with MDS 81’s mid-to-late 20th century collapse was found in greatest density to the south and west of the foundation pit, with lesser amounts to the north and east.   However, the majority of sub-surface architectural materials were identified within the northern and eastern site quadrants, most densely concentrated within 10 to 20 cm (0.3 x 0.6 ft) of the ground surface, though found as deeply buried as 1.8 m (5.9 ft) below ground surface.  These remains included ferrous building hardware, particularly machine-cut nails, as well as flat window glass.  In the southern and eastern site quadrants, after digging through the surface building debris, the amount of architectural debris, as well as all cultural materials, declined precipitously as depth below ground surface increased.

Other well-represented functional artifact classes identified within the Phase 2 site assemblage include an array of 20th and 21st century roadside debris, including a range of plastic and glass beverage containers, plastic bags and plastic packaging materials and a variety of automobile parts.   These materials were found in highest density in the site’s US Route 219 road frontage, and were found in greatest quantities scattered across the ground surface and in a shallow (>10 cm [0.3 ft] BGS) subsurface scatter.

Above-ground evidence of the former cheese factory (MDS 81) included portions of its foundation and the ruined structural remains of its 3-story banked superstructure.  The foundation measures approximately 8 x 11 m (26 x 36 ft) with the short axis fronting US Route 219.  The foundation is composed of poured concrete in some locations, while other parts are mortared shale fieldstones.  The use of different materials is likely related to various episodes of construction.