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Dr. David Starbuck leading an archeological dig in Lake George

Dr. David Starbuck leading an archeological dig in Lake George

Archaeologists Will Resume Digs at Fort William Henry this Summer

By Mirror Staff

Friday, March 18, 2011

“Its going to be an exciting summer,” says Dr. David Starbuck. This year, the Archaeology Field School which the Yale-trained archaeologist, author and Chestertown native led at Fort William Henry for SUNY Adirondack (Adirondack Community College) for four summers, will return to the Fort for the first time since 2000.

During its earlier digs,  the Archaeology Field School excavated the grounds inside the West Barracks. “It was an incredibly rich site,” Starbuck said.

Between 1997 and 2000, the Field Schools discovered burned log walls, military dumps and Native American artifacts from the early Archaic Period, such as a spear dating back to between 6,000 and  8,000 B.C.

The ground is high enough above the lake that it has long been a good living area, Starbuck explained.

“The Indian sites out here tend to be quite early,” he added.

In 1999 alone, the archaeologists and students found the remains of the original barracks and underground rooms, as well as bayonets, musket balls, a Jesuit ring and a regimental button from the American Revolution.

The ring probably belonged to one of the Indians who took part in Montcalm’s assault on Fort William Henry in August, 1757, said  a curator at  the Fort William Henry museum.

The Revolutionary war button, according to Starbuck, indicated that  while Fort William Henry was never rebuilt after having been destroyed by Montcalm in 1757, the site was in continuous use through the end of the American Revolution.

Some of the artifacts from the earlier digs will be on display this summer  at the Fort William Henry museum.

The 2011 digs will focus on the dumps east of the fort, the remains of barracks buildings, and the prehistoric campsites that lie beneath the ruins of the French and Indian War fort.

Throughout the Archaeology Field School’s three, two week sessions, visitors to Fort William Henry will be able to watch the archaeologists at work.

According to Starbuck, the archaeologists are themselves something of an attraction at the Fort. Rather than regarding the attention as a distraction, he welcomes it, because it gives him the opportunity to deepen people’s understanding of the military and historical significance of Lake George.

Students are eligible for three college credits per session, which will be held from July 11 through July 22, July 25 through August 5, and August 8 through August 19.

Tuition for New York state residents is $142 per credit hour. Tuition for out-of-state residents is $284 per credit hour. For more information, call SUNY Adirondack’s Eisenhart Hall faculty secretaries at 743-2258.

 

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