The Elizabeth Furnace Plantation is an 18th century treasure. Thirteen colonial-era buildings, constructed between 1746 and 1788, are still standing in the 10-acre core of the property. In fact, the 1788 Coleman mansion is the newest standing structure on the property today, which has seen no new buildings erected since the 18th century. The buildings are in exceptional condition, with original woodwork, windows, sashes, summer beams, and fireplaces; the windows of the "Hessian barracks" building still contain the iron bars placed there during the Revolutionary War when the building housed prisoners.
The ultimate purpose of historical research is to uncover previously unknown information and to better understand the historical processes which shaped both the past and the present. The decision to conduct excavations at Elizabeth Furnace was initially influenced by a desire to explore the colonial period history of Lancaster County. However, our first year of research indicated that the importance of this site extended well beyond Lancaster County, and even Pennsylvania. Documentary investigation revealed that Charles & Alexander Stedman, brothers who owned 2/3 of the furnace, were also successful Philadelphia merchants.
The Lancaster Colonial Settlement Project is a multi-disciplinary research effort of the Archaeology program at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. The purpose of the project is to locate, identify, excavate, and study archaeological remains of colonial-period settlement in Lancaster County, Pennslyvania. The investigation incorporates the work of historians, botanists, historic architects, and palynologists, in conjunction with the primary focus on historical archaeology conducted by the Archaeology program at Millersville University, under the direction of Dr. Tim Trussell.