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Long House's basement is as interesting as what's upstairs

I immensely enjoyed Andrea Siegel's recent article on Baltimore's Long House ("A house with a long history," Jan. 15). However, what's in the home's basement is as interesting as what's upstairs.

As a volunteer in 1976, I assisted in the excavation of Robert Long's residence after learning about it through the Maryland Archaeological Society.

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An elderly couple, the Lynches, managed the Robert Long House dig, and although they were amateur archaeologists, they were passionate about the project.

Whenever we were confronted by artifacts whose origin or use were unknown, we referred to the books by noted British archaeologist Ivor Noel-Hume, whose works on Colonial American artifacts grew out of efforts excavating Colonial Williamsburg.

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Aside from carrying dirt to the garage, which was located next to the property, my first assignment was to excavate a two-inch layer in a corner of the cellar just below the brick floor. Mr. Lynch, a Bethlehem Steel worker, mentioned that digging in other parts of the cellar suggested that this layer might date from around the mid-1860s.

My efforts unearthed a number of straight pins, an intricately carved clay pipe bowl, numerous clay pipe stems, dominoes carved from bone and a U.S. coin dating from the 1860s that validated the layer's estimated age.

The most exciting find? Mrs. Lynch unearthed what looked like an oddly shaped, heavily encrusted rock whose weight was notably disproportionate to its size. When cleaned, it revealed itself to be a seven-pound cannon ball.

I will never forget my days at the Long House even though I never got out of the cellar to see the rest of it. I hope the public will attend the planned fundraiser this week. As attendees stand on the first floor of the house, they may be amazed at the artifacts discovered right under their feet.

Charlie J. Murphy, Relay

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