SHARPSBURG, MD News (7/8/2022) – The National Park Service has released an Environmental Assessment for Antietam Battlefield in an effort to develop comprehensive and sustainable land-use strategies that will preserve significant landscape elements and integrate natural and cultural resources.
In response, Western Maryland History Hub, the creators of History Hub Hunters, has sent the following recommendation.
Overall, the intent of this plan is well meaning, but falls short in one critical area.
This plan fails to take into account the tremendous amount of lead and other metals which is present within the soil at Antietam Battlefield and the impact this lead has on plant life.
For reference, lead in soil can last up to 2000 years, and can inhibit plant growth.
The best solution to this would be combined metal detecting and responsible archaeological investigation of sites where metals are detected in the battlefield.
With over 3,000 rounds an hour fired at Antietam, and 23,000 men killed or wounded, Antietam likely has very high levels of metal contaminating the soil.
Coordinate with local metal detecting enthusiasts and archaeologists to conduct proper investigation and removal of metals throughout the battlefield, while properly documenting the context of each of these finds. These artifacts could then be displayed at the battlefield museum, or potentially donated to museums across the country. The cost for this would likely be minimal, as most metal detector enthusiasts would be excited just to have the chance to detect at the battlefield, even if they couldn’t keep their finds.
We at Western Maryland History Hub hope that NPS will take our recommendations seriously, and would be available for further discussion if needed.
Founder, Western Maryland History Hub
Editor’s note: Western Maryland History Hub and Radio Free Hub City are owned by the same parent company, Red Mana Properties, LLC.