Archeology to be Focus Of Mount Independence Hike

The mysteries of Mount Independence’s past will be revealed in the annual archeology hike into history at the historic site in Orwell, Vermont. Archaeologist Allen Hathaway will lead the hike on Sunday, September 5 at 2:00 p.m. and share his extensive knowledge about what archeology can and has revealed about the original inhabitants of the Mount- the American Revolution- and even the earlier French and Indian War.

“Allen is a popular guide and has visited the Mount for years, so he really knows the trails and the history behind them as well as what kind of archeological finds have been made,” said Elsa Gilbertson, Regional Site Administrator with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.

The event is part of Vermont Archeology Month, she said, and participants are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather.

Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War archeological sites in America. Visitors can see the evidence of this vast fortification by walking along the six miles of trails.

The Baldwin Trail, circling much of the southern half of the Mount, has gentle grades and compacted surfaces, suitable for easy walking, outdoor wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.

In 1776, the sprawling military complex at Mount Independence was one of the largest communities in North America after some 12,000 soldiers built a massive fort to defend against an anticipated British attack from the north.

On the night of July 5, 1777, General Arthur St. Clair withdrew the American army from Mount Independence and nearby Fort Ticonderoga without firing a shot after a British force more than twice his size occupied high ground from which they could bombard him with impunity.

The British and Germans occupied Mount Independence until November of that year. Though his actions helped preserve the army, Congress was outraged and censured St. Clair for the loss. He later argued that his conduct had been honorable- demanded review by a court martial- and was ultimately exonerated.

Mount Independence is located near the end of Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 22A and 73 near Orwell village. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15, and includes the guided walk, access to all the trails, and a visit to the air-conditioned visitor center with its exhibits.

Call (802) 948-2000 for more information or visit

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