Archaeology Courses

Anthropological Archaeology courses, Anth 211 & 212, are cross-listed with American Studies &  Environmental and Urban Studies

Ancient Americans on the Bard Lands: Archaeological Methods

This season will be the 7th excavation at the 5,000-year-old Forest site after its discovery in Spring 2012 and the expansion of testing over the last 6 Autumn semesters. We will concentrate mainly on an activity area where 100s of pottery fragments have come to light. Several hearths or fireplaces may provide radiocarbon dates to confirm or disprove that they represent the earliest known pottery in the Northeast. The utilization of nearby stone tools can be identified by experimental replication and microscopic comparisons. The methods, technical and conceptual, that Bardians learn in this course equip them for participation in the field of Cultural Resource Management. The class will meet Wednesdays for discussion of background texts on the Lenape [“People” in their language], neighboring peoples, CRM, and archaeological sites at Bard and in its region. Field and lab work will take place on Friday afternoons.

Early African Americans near Bard: Historical Archaeology

Our research and excavations will focus on a religious center in the former agricultural village of Queensbury, along the Hudson River, 9 miles north of Bard. This settlement began in 1710 as the first substantial German-speaking community in the New World. After a mass emigration from the Rhineland Palatinate and two years of forced labor conditions in Germantown, a robust economy began to grow in the central Hudson Valley around orchards and animal husbandry that has lasted almost three centuries. Recent evidence indicates that Native Americans visited the minister’s home (or Parsonage) before 1750, and that African Americans lived at the site by the early 1800s, if not decades earlier. The Mohicans likely came from their last village in New York, Shekomeko, a German Moravian mission in the Taconic hills. In the mid-1800s, several African American families established a neighborhood near the old village center and left traces of their own spiritual heritage practices. We’ll read background texts and write short papers for weekly seminar, and do 4.5-hour excavation and/or lab sessions on Friday [or weekend afternoons].