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Photon Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven National Laboratory

NSLS-II Digs up History

dig find museum

The dig find “museum” in the NSLS-II Project construction trailer


The inscribed concrete boulder found on the NSLS-II excavation site

Five years before becoming fully operational, NSLS-II already is leading to discoveries – of the historical kind. As earthwork takes place on the NSLS-II construction site, which housed part of Camp Upton in the World War I and II era, artifacts ranging from rusted horseshoes to nearly 100-year-old pieces of newspaper are being dug up.

The most recent find is a large piece of painted concrete rock thought to have been part of a floor in a warehouse used in the army base in the 1940s. The rock, which has a hand-drawn emblem of a bugle, the notation “Company G” and the logo “Baptized by Fire,” was identified with the 14th regiment, known as the “Fighting Fourteenth” and the “Red-legged Devils” from Brooklyn.

Construction workers also recently discovered a WWII dog tag that belonged to a solider who likely passed through Camp Upton on his way to England.

These artifacts are a few of many. In fact, a makeshift museum of Sheffield milk bottles, railroad spikes, Coca-Cola glasses — even a delicately etched Ed. Pinaud hair tonic bottle — has been made out of a table in the NSLS-II Project construction trailer, where passersby can imagine what life was like in Upton nearly a century ago.