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Modernizing RCBC’s campus digs up some treasures from the past

construction

As the modernization of Rowan College at Burlington County’s main campus continues, items from the 18th-century Borton/Ballinger farmstead are surfacing.

While completing the loop of College Circle around campus, the college is partnering with Hunter Research, Inc. to carry out an archaeological data recovery in accordance with the New Jersey State Historical Preservation Office.

“As we look forward to the future and the modernized Mount Laurel Campus, it’s always nice to stop and learn about the past and the history of the area that the campus is built on,” RCBC President Paul Drayton said.

The farmstead was settled in the mid-18th century and the farmhouse and other farm buildings stood on the site until the 1980s.

“Burlington County has a rich farming heritage and it’s important to preserve this culture as Rowan College at Burlington County transforms into the model of 21st century education,” Burlington County Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien said.

The excavation aims to document the buried remains of the farmstead, including the main house, outhouse, well, barns and sheds while gathering information on the history of the farm and the people who lived there.

“Hunter Research is pleased to be working with Rowan College at Burlington County and the project engineers, Taylor Wiseman & Taylor, on this interesting project” said Jim Lee, Vice President, Principal Investigator/Archaeologist at Hunter Research, Inc. “Opportunities to conduct archaeological investigations this extensive on 18th-century farmstead sites are uncommon and we're confident that the research and excavations we are conducting will provide a rare look at the character of rural Burlington County during this period."

So far, the excavation has discovered the foundation remains of the house and several outbuildings along with a large number of historic artifacts as well as a Native American jasper projectile point. This type of point, known as a Brewerton side-notched point, has been found at other sites and has been dated to approximately 4,000 to 2,000 B.C., 3,750 years before the Bortons showed up! Once the digging of the area is finished, Hunter Research’s efforts will turn to the analysis of the artifacts, preparation of site plans and a technical report that will take a couple of months.

Created as a satellite campus in 1995, Mount Laurel is now the college’s main campus as it transitions out of Pemberton – its original home for half a century. Preparation of the construction site of the 78,000 square-foot Student Success Center and 320-car parking lot began in August and is expected to open before the fall 2017 semester.

To learn more about the campus transformation, please visit rcbc.edu/campus-transformation. To view the entries along with findings from Hunter Research, Inc. visit rcbc.edu/campus-transformation/site-excavation.

Pictured: Crew works on finding the foundation remains of the house.