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Archeologists Dig Up 200-Year-Old History In Patterson Park

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Ron Matz 370x278 Ron Matz
Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The citizens of Baltimore stood their ground against the British during the War of 1812. While Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key get the most attention, another part of the city was just as important.

Ron Matz has more on the dig for history in one of Baltimore’s most famous parks.

They’re searching for history on what used to be Hampstead Hill. Using high-tech radar and shovels, Baltimore Heritage has launched an archeological dig in Patterson Park.

“We started out here with our remote sensing. We have ground penetrating radar. This is a way to cover a lot of ground quickly without disturbing the soil. We try to dig as little as possible on a really historic site because we don’t want to damage the site,” said archeologist John Bedell, of Louis Berger Group.

Bedell says it’s a great Baltimore story, where 15,000 proud city residents and dozens of cannons formed a line of defense against the British in 1814.

“We expect to find a lot more artifacts. One of the first really exciting things we found was a gun flint; this is probably a gun flint dropped by one of the defenders of 1814. The people of Baltimore came out to defend their city,” Bedell said.

“The British got to the edge of Patterson Park. They saw well entrenched Baltimoreans about a mile long from the harbor up to Hopkins hospital. It was raining. It was cold. Their general had been shot, and they looked at this and said ‘It’s not worth it,’ and that was one of the key turning points of the war,” said Johns W. Hopkins, director of Baltimore Heritage Inc.

You can see the Key Bridge from the park and enjoy the pagoda and remember what Baltimoreans did two centuries ago.

“We really connect to this story because we see the same kind of spirit that brought people together to defend Baltimore in 1814 that is kind of happening with the revitalization of the park,” said Jennifer Robinson, executive director Friends of Patterson Park.

This search for Baltimore history will continue every Tuesday through Saturday for the next three weeks.

“Sometime over the last 100 years some of that history has been lost to the current generation. One of the things that we’re hoping to do by doing this archeology dig is both find what’s underneath here and hopefully re-tell that story,” Hopkins said.

This coming Sunday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., there will be family tours and programs about the dig and the War of 1812. Other programs are scheduled for next month.

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