Passage Point: An Amateur's Dig Into New Jersey's Colonial Past
Richard B. Marrin.
The title can be taken literally: this is an account of a seven-year archaeological investigation near the shoreline of a New Jersey peninsula between the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, separated from the Atlantic only by the barrier beach which ends at Sandy Hook a few miles to the north. This peninsula is now populated by quiet stately homes and estates, but was not always so. Known as Monmouth County’s “Plymouth Rock,” this location was the landing place for the first settlers in the region, and a major gateway for trade, in addition to being the site of battles at least three times in the War for Independence. Thus it seemed a promising site for an archaeological dig, and the author secured permission from the landowners and began to dig. Excavating each summer for seven years, Mr. Marrin spent the winters researching archives and records for further clues. Likewise, the chapters in this book alternate between accounts of the digs and findings, by year (presented as letters to the landowners), and accounts of the history of this area, traces of which were sought and found. This kind of search combines the written record, which is available to everyone, with the physical evidence, which the ground grudgingly yields only to the patient archaeologist. Archaeological digs, like gold prospecting, offer the prospect of the Big Find that no one else has seen. Anyone who has been involved in field archaeology has felt this in varying degrees, and will enjoy this account, as will anyone curious about the history of this part of New Jersey. The every-name plus subject index contains a wide variety of entries testifying to the breadth of background research and discussion in the book.
(1997, 2006), 2016, 5½x8½, paper, index, 340 pp.