US Army Ret. Lt. Col. Cornelius W. Barton

Military Project Grant

 

An award of $500 is presented in memory of the late Cornelius W. Barton for a graduate student (MA, MS, or PhD) conducting research on any topic pertaining to military history or military archaeology.  Mr. Barton served in the Army and had a very keen interest in archeology and history his entire life.  His family has donated the money for this grant in his memory with the hope of fostering the same love of history in others.  The purpose of the grant is to assist a student in advancing their research project and can be used for any justifiable expense (for example, but not limited to: equipment acquisitions, analysis costs, software purchases, or to help defray the costs of fieldwork).  One grant will be awarded annually on a competitive basis and will be administered by the Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization (BRAVO). 

Grant requirements:

  • Research proposal, no more than three pages long, that describes the research, its potential contributions to military history or archaeology, and a justification of how the funds will be used.  Maps, graphics, etc. may be additionally attached.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of support, including one from the student's advisor that indicates the expected date of completion of the project and that the student is in good standing with the department. 
  • A letter is requested at the completion of the project, updating BRAVO on how the money was used to benefit the project. 

Deadline for nomination: July 1.  Please submit all applications electronically in Adobe PDF format to bravodigs@gmail.com.

 

Contact: Dan Sivilich, BRAVO President at bravodigs@gmail.com


Award Date: The selected recipient will be notified by email.

Click to download a pdf of the grant announcement

2015 US Army Ret. Lt. Col. Cornelius W. Barton Military Project Grant Recipients

Annually an award of $500 is presented by the Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological

Volunteer Organization (BRAVO) in memory of the late Cornelius W. Barton for a graduate

student conducting research on any topic pertaining to military history or military archaeology.

Mr. Barton served in the US Army and had a very keen interest in archeology and history his

entire life. His family has donated the money for this grant in his memory with the hope of

fostering the same love of history in others. The purpose of the grant is to assist a student in

advancing their military research project and can be used for any justifiable expense. Typically

one grant is awarded annually, but this year two applications were so interesting and difficult to

judge that our benefactor, Neal Barton (the son of Cornelius W. Barton), decided to graciously

award both candidates with grant funding. I am pleased to announce the recipients of these

awards.

Congratulations to this year's recipient of the Barton Grant, Colin Parkman. Colin is currently engaged on a PhD thesis at the University of Huddersfield, UK on early modern bullets and impact effects. He is conducting a number of live firing experiments which requires funding for powder and lead. This project will provide battlefield archaeologists with useful models to help understand a range of early modern battles. The following is taken from his grant application:

The aim of this research is to increase the knowledge and ability in conflict archaeology to interpret impacted lead bullets found on early modern battlefields. This will be completed through a series of experimental firing trials of early modern firearms into specified targets and landscape features appropriate to battlefield conditions for the time period and to create a reference collection of known bullet impacts. The objectives are to determine: (1) what variables will influence diagnostic features of impacted bullets; (2) to develop a methodology for objective recording and analysis of impacted bullets; and (3) to validate methodology and experimental data using bullets from previously surveyed battlefield sites.

Battlefield archaeological research generally focuses on delineating the boundaries of a site and
investigating the spatial relationship of unstratified metal artefacts in order to interpret battle-related events. Early modern battlefields (1500-1815) maintain this trend, but focus more on the recovered bullets as bullets comprise the majority of battle-related artefacts. These recovered bullets are not only strong physical evidence tying a battle to a specific location, but the bullets themselves can also provide valuable insight into the detail of the military action. The standard round ball was the prevalent small arms ammunition used in warfare throughout the 13th-17th centuries and as a direct result the most commonly found battlefield artefact (Foard 2012: 49). The size of a bullet is the primary diagnostic indicator and allows for identification of the firearm used through measurement of bullet diameter and/or weight of the bullet to discern calibre or bore (bore meaning how many bullets to the pound of lead, so 19 bore would be 19 bullets from one pound of lead) (Sivilich 1996; Branstner 2008; Smith et al. 2009; Foard 2012). Knowledge of the calibre of the bullet can assist in discerning the troop type that fired the bullet (Foard 2008) and, in some cases it can differentiate which army fired it, thereby revealing a clearer picture of the events on the battlefield (Sivilich 2009). Another diagnostic indicator for bullets is the physical composition of the bullet. The malleable nature of lead allows distinctive features to be transferred onto the bullet surface allowing for diagnostic analysis. Experimental firing has confirmed the transfer of characteristic traits onto the bullet surface. The surface of the bullet retains impressions transferred from loading and firing (Eyers 2006; Miller 2009; Scott & Haag 2009; Sivilich 2009; Smith et al. 2009; Foard 2012), impact with trees, logs and other wooden surfaces (Sivilich 2009; Smith et al. 2009; Linck 2012), as well as abrasions from ground impacts (Miller 2009; Smith et al. 2009; Foard 2012).

While the study of bullets from battlefield contexts has yielded useful data regarding battle location and action there is little comprehensive research on impacted bullets. The vast majority of battlefield archaeological reports refer to the bullets as fired or not fired with little attempt at further explanation or interpretation. The nature of bullet impacts and how the bullet became impacted have yet to be systematically addressed within conflict archaeology. This project investigates impacted bullets through experimental firing trials of early modern firearms into targets and landscape features appropriate to battlefield conditions for the period. This is completed through the use of contemporary sources to assist in building the parameters for the firing trials, the results of the firing trials are then used to examine bullets from the archaeological record. Experimental firing has confirmed that the malleable nature of lead allows distinctive features to be transferred onto the bullet surface allowing for diagnostic analysis. This parallel between the nature of the impact surface and the characteristics transferred to the bullets surface show that the bullet retains impressions transferred from specific actions and surfaces.
The interpretation of impact damage on bullets is part knowledge supported by scientific data
collected from experimental firing or other forms of experimentation and part conjecture. There are numerous unsubstantiated theories on impacted bullets but little definitive research exists which can confirm or disprove them. Correlating the character of the impact evidence with particular types of impact surface, angel and velocity is the core of this on-going study and the first step in ascertaining whether or not it will allow for an advanced interpretation of the nature of the action and how it unfolded. The design of an experimental firing methodology and how to better understand the archaeological bullet assemblages, military manuals, historic sources and scientific publications contemporary to the time period were consulted to recreate the firing conditions that would have been common place at the time. By recreating and reconstructing the knowledge and resources available, along with experimentation based on said information, it is possible to recreate the impact damage recorded on the archaeological material. This impact damage in turn will lead to a better understanding and interpretation of known bullets assemblages.

References:
Branstner, M. C. 2008. The Problem with Distorted, Flattened, Spent, and Otherwise Mangled Lead
Balls: A Simply Remedy. Illinois Archaeology 20: 168-184.

Eyers, V. 2006. Ballistics of Matchlock Muskets. Defence College of Management and Technology:
Department of Materials and Medical Sciences Forensic Engineering and Science MSc Thesis: 1-97. Cranfield University.

Foard, G. 2008. Integrating Documentary and Archaeological Evidence in the Investigation of Battles: A Case Study from Seventeenth-Century England. PhD Thesis. PhD Thesis. East Anglia: University of East Anglia.

Foard, G. 2012. Battlefield Archaeology of the English Civil War. BAR British series 570. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Linck, D. 2012. Summary of Musket Ball Distortion Tests. 1-5.

Miller, D. 2009. Ballistics of 17th Century Muskets. The Defence Academy, College of Management and Technology MSc Thesis: 1-186. Cranfield University.

Scott, D. D. & L. Haag 2009. "Listen to the Minié Balls": Identifying Firearms in Battlefield Archaeology. In D. D. Scott, L. Babits and C. Haecker (eds) Fields of Conflict: Battlefield Archaeology from the Roman Empire to the Korean War.: 102-120. Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc.

Sivilich, D. M. 1996. Analyzing Musket Balls to lnterpret a Revolutionary War Site. Journal of the Society for Historical Archaeology 30(2): 101-109.

Sivilich, D. M. 2009. What the Musket Ball Can Tell: Monmouth Battlefield State Park, New Jersey. In D. D. Scott, L. Babits and C. Haecker (eds) Fields of Conflict: Battlefield Archaeology from the Roman Empire to the Korean War.: 84-101. Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc.

Smith, S. D., J. B. Legg & T. S. Wilson 2009. The Archaeology of the Camden Battlefield: History, Private Collections, and Field Investigations. 1-121. Columbia, South Carolina: South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Congratulations to our recipient for an outstanding project.

Dan Sivilich

President - BRAVO

 

Programs

 

 

BRAVO has offered a variety of public programs in the past. Below is a brief list of past public outreach events. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Public Lectures

 

The programs listed below are among those presented at BRAVO meetings to which the public is invited.

"Ladies From Hell - Repulse of the British Third Brigade at Monmouth", presented by Dan Sivilich, president of BRAVO. Entertaining and interesting slide presentation on the battle against the 42nd Regiment of Foot (referred to as "ladies" because they wore kilts) as we now know it to have occurred due to archaeological discoveries at Monmouth Battlefield. For information about having this presentation given to your group, click on "Contact Us".

"A Billy Yank Governor", presented by author Bernie Olsen. The life and times of Franklin Murphy, New Jersey's turn-of-the-century governor who also fought in the Civil War. His presentation and book of the same name contain information and photographs never before published.

"Old Tennent Church Talk and Tour", presented by Reverend Dr. Hugh MacKenzie. Fascinating information about the history of Old Tennent Church in Manalapan, NJ, one of the few original 18th century churches remaining in the state.

"Monmouth County's Role in the Civil War", presented by Jim Stephens. An overview of the 1862 Monmouth Regiment and those troops' service in the Civil War.

Dr. Paul Kovalski, forensic dentist and president of the Marlboro Township council: slide presentation on the identification of bodies through dental forensics, and how this science has evolved since the time of Paul Revere, who was one of the first to use dental forensics to identify the body of an officer killed at Bunker Hill.

"Excavating Architecture", a slide presentation by Dr. Garry Stone. Excellent presentation exposing hidden evidence in the walls, rubble piles, and beneath the surface of old buildings that can help us unravel the secrets of the past. Highlighted were classic New Jersey homes, excavations from St. John's (1638-c.1715) in St. Mary's City, MD, and Wright Tavern (c.1799-present) in Wentworth, North Carolina.