Archaeological Survey and Monitoring at the Camden and Amboy Railroad Tidewater Terminus Intermodal Ferry Transportation Center

South Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey

Development of the Intermodal Ferry Transportation Center in South Amboy will have potentially adverse effects on the northern tidewater terminus of the Camden and Amboy Railroad (one of the United States’ earliest railroads), archaeological remains of which are considered to be part of the Camden and Amboy Railroad Main Line Historic District. Since 1999, as part of NEPA and Section 106 compliance, Hunter Research has undertaken several episodes of historical and archaeological research within the ferry project’s Area of Potential Effects. More than 150 former structures have been identified and mapped. Recommendations were made for interpretive signage, historically sensitive design to mitigate the overall impact to the Historic District, and ongoing investigation and monitoring as the project took clearer shape. Recommendations were developed in consultation with the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the City of South Amboy, and were incorporated into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) drafted by Hunter Research.

Due to limitations in funding, the project has been slowly developing over the past decade. Recently, Hunter Research began to fulfill stipulations of the MOA:  monitoring soil remediation at the site and providing input into the design and construction of the access roads, parking lots, and the ferry terminal building. Monitoring of soil remediation resulted in the unexpected discovery of Camden and Amboy Railroad-era archaeological features, including a mid-19th-century railroad turntable, a section of the original rail bed laid down in the early 1830s and numerous stone sleepers re-used across the terminal site.  Hunter Research field staff are currently (in 2019) documenting remains of the terminal infrastructure and wharfage in the tidal zone using georectified drone photography and GIS.