Archaeological Field Methods: Ancient Americans on the Bard LandsThis season will be the 6th excavation at the 5,000-year-old Forest site after its discovery in Spring 2012 and the expansion of testing over the last 4 Autumn semesters. We will concentrate initially on an activity area for the manufacture and use of stone tools. Their utilization may be identified in the lab by our replicative experimentation and microscopic analysis of wear patterns. Several hearths or fireplaces were recently found that may contain the oldest pottery in the Northeast. Knowledge of this key millennium in this region is sparse. We will focus second on the hearth area. The methods, technical and conceptual, that Bardians learn in the course equip them for participation in the field of Cultural Resource Management. The class will meet Tuesdays for discussion of background texts on the Lenape [“People” in their language], neighboring peoples, CRM, and archaeological sites at Bard and its region. Field and lab work will take place on Friday afternoons.
Historical Archaeology: Early African Americans near Bard
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].