HALIFAX TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Along Route 147 in Halifax Township, Dauphin County, is a stone monument with a plaque. It commemorates a fort that helped defend the region during the French and Indian War.

When the war broke out in 1754, the Susquehanna River in northern and western Pennsylvania was the frontier. Settlers in the area were particularly vulnerable to attacks from the French and their Native American allies.

British authorities decided to build forts along the Susquehanna: Fort Hunter, near what’s now Harrisburg, Fort Augusta near what’s now Sudbury, and in between, Fort Halifax, which channeled men and material up to Fort Augusta. (Of the three forts, Augusta was considered the most important, since it could guard both the main and west branches of the Susquehanna.)

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So what did Fort Halifax look like? It was a square log stockade, built on an earthwork about 10 feet high, surrounded by a 10-foot-deep ditch. Bastions, or gun emplacements, at each corner gave clear fields of fire at any attackers.

But the fort was there for less than two years. With Fort Augusta completed, it was no longer really needed. And, as it turned out, most of the fighting was further west, so the three forts on the southern Susquehanna didn’t really see any action. Fort Halifax was evacuated in 1757, then dismantled in 1763. Over time, the precise location of the fort was lost.

In 2021, students from the Juniata College Archeology School spent two weeks excavating an open field just west of the monument. From the day they started digging, they were turning up artifacts ranging from Native American arrowheads to European coins, buttons, and flintlocks. By the time the dig ended on June 28, they had unearthed hundreds of items, including some very solid evidence of the fort’s actual location about 500 feet to the west, just as it says on the monument.