Topic ID #26543 - posted 1/28/2013 2:04 AM

Finding Fort Christina: 375 Years On The Delaware: New Sweden Past and Present



Jennifer Palmer

Webmaster

KALMAR NYCKEL FOUNDATION
2013 LECTURE SERIES
"375 Years On The Delaware: New Sweden Past and Present"
 Lecture 1: "Finding Fort Christina:
Archaeology Matters!"

Map of Fort ChristinaWilmington, Delaware – The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation announces its Lecture Series for 2013, entitled “375 Years On The Delaware: New Sweden Past and Present.”   The Foundation's annual lecture series brings world class scholars and speakers to the greater Delaware community and supports our mission “to preserve and promote Delaware’s cultural and maritime heritage for the education and enrichment of all.”   This year we are honored to celebrate the 375th anniversary of the original Kalmar Nyckel's first voyage to North America and the founding of New Sweden on the Delaware.                                                       

The first lecture, entitled "Finding Fort Christina: Archaeology Matters!," features two renowned archaeologists – Dr. Edward Harris of Bermuda and Craig Lukezic of the state of Delaware's Historical and Cultural Affairs Dvision -- who take a special interest in colonial forts and fortifications.  "The search for Fort Christina" has begun, and Edward Harris and Craig Lukezic will be on hand to tell us about the site's potential, its historic value, and the early returns on their preliminary findings.  If you have ever wondered where Delaware began, this is a story you won’t want to miss.

Fort Christina was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley and what would become the state of Delaware – it’s the first place of the future first state of the United States of America.  Founded by the Swedes in 1638, Fort Christina was located at “the Rocks” on what is today’s 7th Street Peninsula in Wilmington, about two hundred yards upstream from where the present-day Kalmar Nyckel makes her home.  Fort Christina is rightfully famous as the home of the first log-cabin structures ever built on American soil, a barracks and a warehouse constructed by Finnish soldiers who were part of the original Swedish expedition.  Fort Christina was named in honor of Queen Christina, Sweden’s 12-year-old girl-Queen in 1638.  Fort Christina State Park, dedicated and opened by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 for the tercentenary of the first Swedish landing, commemorates the original fort.  No trace of the original fort has ever been found, and no serious archaeological exploration has ever been conducted – until now!

Dr. Edward Harris is one of the world’s leading archaeologists and the Executive Director of the Bermuda Maritime Museum.  A Member of the Order of the British Empire and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Dr. Harris is renowned in archaeology circles for developing the eponymous “Harris Matrix,” a new and improved method for taking into account stratigraphy during archaeological investigations.  His landmark findings were published in 1979 as the Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy and have been adopted throughout the profession.  Dr. Harris comes to us from Bermuda, where he is a frequent contributor to the annual Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History and writes a history column for the local newspaper entitled “Heritage Matters.” Among other endeavors, Dr. Harris is recognized as Bermuda’s “fort expert,” where his interest in early modern fortifications has taken him to sites and excavations all across the globe.  It is this keen interest in colonial forts that brings him to Delaware and to the “search for Fort Christina.”  Dr. Harris is excited about the possibilities at Fort Christina for many reasons, but especially because it represents the first permanent site in what would become the first state of the United States of America.

Craig Lukezic has been the state archaeologist for Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since 2003.   Craig Lukezic has been leading archaeological studies of several colonial forts from the period when the Swedes and Dutch controlled the Delaware Valley, including a recent excavation at Fort Casimir in New Castle and preliminary investigations at Fort Christina State Park.  He, too, is excited about the “search for Fort Christina,” partly because of the site’s significance and because no serious investigation of the fort has ever been conducted.  Craig Lukezic presently serves as the president of the Archaeological Society of Delaware.  He has been instrumental in establishing the Early Colonial Symposium of the Delaware Valley and has contributed to the Lewes Maritime Archaeological Project and Avery’s Rest.  When not “getting dirty” and supervising projects for the state, Craig also teaches as an adjunct at Delaware State University.

This Program is Partially Funded By A Grant From The Delaware Humanties Forum, A State Program Of The National Endowment For The Humanties.

The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s 2013 Lecture Series is also sponsored in part by the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware. 

More info here.





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