Chadwick Finds What's Been Lost in the Sands of Time
Anyone who prints business cards for UMF graduate Bill Chadwick would be wise to charge by the letter. His titles include Ph.D. for the doctoral degree in geology he earned at the University of Delaware, RPA for Registered Professional Archeologist and PG for Professional Geologist.
At John Milner Associates Inc., a historic preservation and cultural resources management firm, Chadwick combines the disciplines of geology and archeology to “see the interaction between the people and the land.”
“A client might say there used to be a saw mill on this piece of land and now there’s nothing. It’s my job to find it,” said Chadwick, who supplemented a major in geology-geography at UMF with 27 credits in anthropology and archeology. “I investigate how people transformed the site, why they abandoned it and what happened after they abandoned it.”
In August 2006, the New York Times reported on Chadwick’s use of ground-penetrating radar to survey the Congregation Shearith Israel Chatham Square Cemetery, believed to be the oldest known Jewish cemetery in North America with graves dating to 1683. Moving the ground-penetrating radar device over the ground much like a lawn mower, he looked for vertical displacements of soil in a vertical profile—the tell-tale signs of old burial plots.
In November 2005, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Chadwick’s archeological survey at the Eastern State Penitentiary Historical Site in Philadelphia. Chadwick again used ground-penetrating radar, this time to locate remains of a two-foot wide, 97-foot long underground tunnel through which 12 inmates, including the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, briefly escaped in 1945. Buttressed with wood pilings and wired for light bulbs, the tunnel was engineered over two years by cell mates Clarence Klinedinst and William Russell. Chadwick and his colleagues at John Milner Associates knew of the tunnel’s entrance and located the exit in one day.
Chadwick said he grew up poring over the pages of National Geographic and treasuring family visits to historic sites like Colonial Williamsburg. Through UMF’s archeological research center and program in geology Chadwick learned how to endure 10-hour days of fieldwork and conduct painstaking research -- skills required for success in graduate school.
“You don’t cut corners in research,” he said. “That’s what I learned in archeology and geology at UMF.”