Icon Becomes a TV Celebrity as Newport, Rhode Island’s Historic Fort Adams Stars in National Geographic’s Program ‘Diggers’

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National Historic Landmark Fort Adams will be featured in an hour long episode of ‘Diggers,’ National Geographic’s TV show Friday April 11 at 10:00 PM (Eastern Time). KG and Ringy, the show’s witty team of archeological extroverts, probe the parade field and explore hidden places, discovering over a hundred artifacts during their stay.

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Fort Adams, Newport RI

You can’t just dig up a National Historic Landmark looking for artifacts...In fact, without permission, it’s illegal.

National Geographic’s TV show ‘Diggers’ featuring Historic Fort Adams will air Friday April 11, 2014 at 10 PM (Eastern Time). The program, filmed in August of 2013, explored both public and off-the-tour places in the immense coastal fortress, largest in North America. Over the course of three days of filming, the dynamic team of Ringy and KG unearthed over 100 artifacts, many of historical significance.

Fort Adams was an active military installation for over 100 years. Construction began in 1824 and the Fortress has been manned since 1841. Jack McCormack, Site Manager for the Fort commented, “Having the guys here at the Fortress was great fun. They were curious about everything and respectful of the significance of this grand old place. Being part of a TV program was a first for me!”

“Fort Adams is where America learned how to build sophisticated military systems,” noted Rick Nagele, Executive Director of the Fort Adams Trust. “We were the NASA of our day. All aspects of construction were tested, experimented with, documented and shared with other US builders of military defenses.”

That the Fort still stands is testament to the outstanding skills of the builders. “The Irish came to Newport to build Fort Adams. They were excellent craftsmen, and you can see it when you tour the Fort,” McCormack added. “Today many of our best supporters are the descendents of the Irish community that came here so many years ago.”

As National Geographic’s website notes, “KG and Ringy have exclusive access to Rhode Island's Fort Adams. The U.S. Naval Academy relocated here for a brief period during the Civil War, and it was once the most heavily armed fort in America, so the guys are hunting for naval nectar that ties the fort to its academy days. How much Civil War nectar can the duo find in this massive fort?” Find out Friday, April 11 (check local listings for time).

McCormack, always a stickler for getting the details right, noted, “For the most part, Fort Adams was an army base. The coastal artillery was often stationed here. Yes the Fort was home to the US Naval Academy briefly when it was moved from Annapolis during the Civil War. Annapolis was a bit close to the fighting. And the Navy had the Fort again briefly during the 1950s. But really it was Army.”

The military abandoned Fort Adams in the 1950s and, for a number of years, the Fort lay vacant. During that period, according to Nagele, “A lot of damage occurred. Then the Fort Adams Foundation, a 501 (C)(3) non-profit was formed to help with preservation. Today a great partnership exists between the Trust, Rhode Island, the Department of Environmental Management, and the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission. In fact, the Heritage Commission had staff here during the filming. A very rigorous process was followed prior to allowing the Diggers on site, and the filming was done under supervision.”

“You can’t just dig up a National Historic Landmark looking for artifacts,” says Nagele. “In fact, without permission, it’s illegal.”

"We also need to thank RI Senate President M. Teresa Paiva-Weed," Nagele says. "Without her leadership, Fort Adams would not be in the condition that it is today. A great deal of progress has been made in restoring the Fortress."

About The Fort Adams Trust

The Fort Adams Trust is responsible for preserving, programming, and promoting the National Historic Landmarks in Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island.The Trust,descended from the Fort Adams Foundation, accepts donations to support its preservation and programming missions.

Newport, often called the City by the Sea, is also referred to as 'New England's second global city.' In addition to the incredible historic destinations, great restaurants & shops, and unrivaled scenic beauty, there is a cosmopolitan sophistication to the City. International visitors abound and you can hear multiple languages on the streets.

About the Diggers

Metal-detecting buffs Tim “Ringy” Saylor and “King” George Wyant are homespun historians who are fascinated with ferreting out interesting fragments of the past—and who like to have a little fun in the process.

As a profile in the Cedar Rapids Gazette once noted, Saylor “is not above licking a clump of dirt if he loses a bet over finding a silver dollar, but he prefers when his buddy loses and has to wear a prom dress while riding his bike off the dock into the icy Montana waters.”

“We have always had the mindset that the appreciation of history and a sense of humor are not mutually exclusive,” Saylor explains.

The pair eventually formed their own company, Anaconda Treasure, and launched a website that markets books on treasure hunting, “Team ATC” hats, clothing and gear, and the Extreme Metal Detecting DVD series, which captures the pair’s adventures. “We were watching DVDs that we bought on eBay, and they seemed incredibly boring and staged,” Saylor explains. “We began carrying cameras with us on all our hunts, and filmed all the greatest finds, showing our real reactions. We mixed in some ridiculous stunts as well.”

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