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Archaeological Survey of Two Civil War Battlefields

in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia played a key role in the military actions in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War. Recently, historical research and an archaeological survey were conducted at the Valley battlefields of the Battle of Front Royal, fought in 1862, and the Third Battle of Winchester, fought in September 1864. The first battle was part of Stonewall Jackson's infamous 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign while the second was the first of a series of Union victories in General Philip Sheridan's 1864 Valley Campaign, which resulted in the Union's control of the Shenandoah Valley. The two battlefields represent a study of contrasting expectations and findings. The archaeological imprint of a previous battle line was found in an unexpected position at Third Winchester while the remains of a poorly documented skirmish dating to 1864 was found on the 1862 Front Royal battlefield. Research domains relating to the archaeological imprints of battlefields, the proper use of historic documentation, and effective metal detector survey are considered in this article.

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