UMass archaeologists are busy excavating part of the massive Springfield Armory complex that once manufactured the standard military rifle used in World War 2 and Korea.
Most of the 135,000 square foot structure known as Building 104 will soon be demolished and turned into a parking lot. More than 3 million M-1 rifles were produced at the site for the war effort. But its history dates back to the American Revolution where it was used as a laboratory and storage depot for gun powder. Archaeologist Tim Barker says his team is hoping find more evidence of what was there before the building is torn down.
“For example, there could be wells and privy pits, perhaps living surface where soldiers camped out,” Barker says. “Things like that which could be a time capsule of artifacts that could talk about the lives of the people who lived and worked here.”
So far, Barker says, they’ve found debris like rusted square nails, roofing slates and brick fragments. The project is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday. But depending on what else of significant historical value is found, he says they could return and open wider areas for excavation.