Tag Archives: Archaeology

Secrets Beneath the Walls of Fort Ticonderoga Tours

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath Fort Ticonderoga’s stone walls? Fort Ticonderoga’s curator, Christopher Fox will lead explorations of Fort Ticonderoga’s hidden past to see remarkably preserved evidence of the Fort’s original structures and catch a glimpse at some of the systems that keeps the Fort running today.

This special behind-the-scenes tour will take visitors into five areas of the Fort not accessible to the general public. In these areas visitors will see original French stone foundations of barracks buildings and cavernous spaces beneath the parapet walls preserving clues to how the Fort was built over 250 years ago and then preserved over the last century.

This hour and a half tour is scheduled at 1:00 pm each Thursday in July and August. Space is limited, advanced reservations are recommended or tickets, as available, can be purchased on the day of the tour at the Guest Services Desk in the Log House Welcome Center. Price is $35 per person with regular general admission.

The tour will begin at the Guest Services Desk located in the Log House Welcome Center. Climbing stairs and passing through narrow spaces is required on this tour and it is not handicap accessible or appropriate for those who have difficulty walking.

Fort Ticonderoga was constructed beginning in the fall of 1755 by the French to protect the outlet of the La Chute River and the short overland portage between Lake Champlain and Lake George. It was captured by the British in July 1759 who held it until its capture by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys in 1775. The British recaptured the Fort in July 1777 and then abandoned it later that fall. After suffering the ravages of time and the elements, the Fort was restored by the Pell family beginning in the spring of 1909.

Iroquois Indian Museum Hosting Early Technology Day

On July 4, The Iroquois Indian Museum will host its Early Technology Day, billed as a hands-on learning experience about life in early America.

Visitors can watch and participate in the process of flint knapping (the ancient art of making chipped stone tools), Primitive fire making, Atlatl spear throwing and early archery. There will be displays of projectile points, tools, and local archaeological finds from the Museum’s archaeology department. Have you ever found an artifact? Please bring it with you and the Museum’s experts will try to identify it for you.

Currently on display at the Museum is the exhibition, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archaeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott.

Early Technology Day takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free with paid admission to the Museum.  The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949.

For more information contact the Iroquois Indian Museum at (518) 296-8949, info@iroquoismuseum.org or visit www.iroquoismuseum.org.

What Lies Beneath Chimney Point Program Set

The Lake Champlain Bridge construction project helped reveal some exciting historic and archaeological findings at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont. On Thursday, June 21, at 7:00 p.m., site administrator Elsa Gilbertson presents an illustrated program about the Chimney Point experience during the bridge project and “what lies beneath.”

Archaeological work confirmed that the site has had a history of human habitation for 9,000 years, since the glacial waters receded, and that this was one of the most strategic spots on Lake Champlain for the Native Americans, French, British, and early Americans. What evidence did all these people leave behind?

The doors open to the public at 6:30 p.m. Come early, bring a picnic, go for a walk across the new bridge, and take a quick look at this year’s exhibit, “What Lies Beneath: 9,000 Years of History at Chimney Point,” before the talk at 7:00 p.m. The public is welcome. Free, donations appreciated.

The Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17, at the foot of the new Lake Champlain Bridge. Call 802-759-2412 for information. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays and Monday holidays through Columbus Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For information about Vermont’s State-Owned Historic Sites, visit: http://historicsites.vermont.gov Join the Vermont State Historic Sites conversation on Facebook.

Lake Georges Sunken Fleet of 1758 Event

On Tuesday, June 5, 7 p.m. at Thurman town hall underwater archaeologist  Joseph W. Zarzynski will present a talk on Bateaux Below’s study of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758,” a notable event at Lake George during the French & Indian War (1755-1763).

In the autumn of 1758, the British sank over 260 warships in Lake George to protect the vessels over the winter of 1758-1759 from their enemy, the French and their Native American allies. Many of the sunken warships were recovered in 1759 and reused by the British.  However, over 40 sunken warships were never retrieved by the British forces in 1759 and they offer underwater archaeologists an excellent opportunity to study these shipwrecks to find out about the colonial soldiers that used them.

Zarzynski’s talk will give details on Bateaux Below’s 24-year-long study (1987-2011) of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758.”Zarzynski is co-founder of Bateaux Below, co-author (with Bob Benway) of the book Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, and co-authored the documentary Search for the Jefferson Davis: Trader, Slaver, Raider.  The documentary, written with Dr. Samuel Turner, was a 2012 Peabody Awards nominee, and an “Official Selection” in the Orlando Film Festival (2011),  Amelia Island Film Festival (2012), and the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (2012). The documentary was named one of three finalists for “Best Documentary” in the 6th Buffalo Niagara Film Festival.

Zarzynski’s June 5th program, hosted by the John Thurman Historical Society, is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Thurman town hall is located at 311 Athol Road, Athol, NY, about 6 miles from the Warrensburg Health Center via route 418 and Athol Road. For more information, call 518-623-9305.

Photo: Joseph W. Zarzynski holds a model of the type of 18th century radeau that plied the waters of Lake George during the French and Indian War (Photo courtesy Peter Pepe).

Iroquois Indian Museum Prepares Opening, Events

The Iroquois Indian Museum opens for its 2012 season on May 1 with a new exhibit and special events planned throughout the year. From May 1 until the closing day on November 30, the Museum hosts the exhibition, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott.

A great number of animal images appear in Iroquois beadwork including pets, forest wildlife, farm animals, and exotic beasts. The exhibition highlights these animals that appear on varied beaded household items such as purses, pincushions, wall pockets and picture frames made popular during the Victorian era.

In addition to the exhibit, the Museum has a Nature Park of 45 acres and a Children’s Museum —- an active, hands-on area —- where Iroquois traditions are introduced through crafts, games and technologies.

The Museum has a full schedule of special events in 2012 (see below). Events at the Museum are free with paid admission. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949. For more information, visit www.iroquoismuseum.org.

2012 SPECIAL EVENTS

May 26 & 27: IROQUOIS CULTURAL FESTIVAL: Join the Iroquois Indian Museum at New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown for their first festival featuring Iroquois artists, dancers and storytellers.

May 29: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Carla Hemlock, Mohawk quilter and Babe Hemlock, Mohawk painter demonstrate at Iroquois Indian Museum. (May 26 – 28: Carla and Babe will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

June 3: from 1:00 – 3:00: PLANTING A THREE SISTERS GARDEN AND STORYTELLING: Visitors are invited to help us plant a Three Sisters Garden of corn, beans and squash. Traditional Iroquois stories about planting and the natural world will be shared.

June 22: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Natasha Smoke Santiago, Mohawk painter and sculptor demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (June 17 – 21: Natasha will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

July 4: EARLY TECHNOLOGY DAY: Visitors can watch and participate in the process of flint knapping, using local and semi-local cherts and lithics, fire making, atl-atl spear throwing, and early archery. There will be displays of projectile points, tools, and local archaeological finds from our archaeology department.

July 14: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY with ONOTA’A:KA (Oneida Nation Dancers)
Onota’a:ka, based in the central New York Haudenosaunee community of Oneida, was founded by Elder and Wolf Clan Mother Maisie Shenandoah for the purpose of cultural education. While Maisie passed away in 2009, the troupe’s original purpose continues to be carried forth by daughter Vicky, granddaughter Tawn:tene (Cindy Schenandoah Stanford) and an extended family with common goals. For the Schenandoahs dance is not a separate expression of heritage and thanksgiving, but one that is thoroughly integrated into daily life. The dancers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

July 20: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Penelope S. Minner, Seneca Basketmaker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 5 – 7: Penelope will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

July 28: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY: Iroquois performers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

August 2, 3, & 4: SONG QUEST WITH JOANNE SHENANDOAH: For the first time at the Iroquois Indian Museum, Grammy Award winning songwriter and performer Joanne Shenandoah offers a comprehensive song-writing workshop. Benefit Concert Performance at the conclusion of the workshop on Saturday evening. Pre-registration for workshop required. shenandoaj@aol.com

August 8: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Karen Ann Hoffman, Oneida beadworker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 5 – 7: Karen will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

August 11: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY with the HAUDENOSAUNEE DANCERS from Onondaga. The Haudenosaunee Dancers perform Iroquois social dances as practiced in their small traditional community near Syracuse. Elegant and knowledgeable, leader Sherri Waterman-Hopper has traveled internationally as an artist and cultural speaker. The Dancers feature a core group of seasoned singer/musicians and talented and dedicated young adults. Pride in the culture and adherence to the traditions are the hallmarks of this disciplined troupe. The dancers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

August 24: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Ken Maracle, Cayuga Wampum Maker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 21 – 23 : Ken will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

September 1 & 2: 31ST ANNUAL IROQUOIS INDIAN FESTIVAL: Festival offerings include Iroquois music and social dance, traditional stories, all-Iroquois art market, games and Native food. More highlights include wildlife exhibits, archeology ID table, and flintknapping demonstrations.

September 2: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Vince Bomberry, Cayuga Sculptor demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 30 – September 1: Vince will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

Medical Center to Scan Albany Institute Mummies

In preparation for the 2013 exhibition The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies, each thousands of years old, will be brought to Albany Medical Center for CT scans and x-rays, using modern imaging techniques to learn the mummies’ genders, causes of death, and more. Leading experts in body imaging and Egyptology will direct the procedures and analyze results.

The Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies were acquired from Cairo, Egypt in 1909, were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors.

Arthur Pielli, Radiology Manager at Albany Medical Center, and two radiologists, Phuong Nguyen Vinh, MD, and Michael Edward Schuster, MD will examine the mummies. The results will then be analyzed with the help of Egyptologist and medical doctor Dr. Robert Brier, a Senior Research Fellow at Long Island University known as “Mr. Mummy,” and Dr. Peter Lacovara, the exhibition’s guest curator and Senior Curator of Egypt, Nubia and Near East at the Carlos Museum at Emory University.

The mummies were last examined by x-rays and CT scans on November 12, 1988. This preliminary analysis helped to determine the mummies’ sex, approximate ages, and various insights into the mummification process. The x-rays and CT scans show a number of bundles inside both of the mummies. Based on the last scan, it was determined that the partially unwrapped mummy is Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC).

Ankhefenmut is reported to have died in 966 and was probably between 55 and 65 years old at the time of his death. The wrapped mummy is a woman. Her name is not known because the top of the coffin was badly deteriorated and left in Cairo by Samuel Brown in 1909. According to Brown she also came from the cache at Deir el-Bahri. X-rays reveal that she was probably between 35-45 years old when she died.

During Dynasty XXI, a change in the practice of mummification occurred. The internal organs were no longer placed in canopic jars, but were usually wrapped in linen packages. These packages were then placed in the empty body or placed between the legs. Canopic jars, however, continued to be a part of the funerary equipment, but were made smaller.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery was a well-crafted fake toe, possibly made of ceramic, carefully attached to the right foot of the wrapped mummy. It is presumed that the toe was fashioned for the woman during the mummification process because of the belief that one had to be physically intact to enter the afterlife. This discovery was highlighted on The Learning Channel’s program, The Ancient ER, in February 2003.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Medical Center, University at Albany Foundation, and the University at Albany Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoSciences.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy of Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

Iroquois Beadwork at the Art of Flowering Talk

The Adirondack Museum’s fifth 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series program, “Inventing Fashion: Iroquois Beadwork at the ‘-Art of Flowering’” will be held on Sunday, March 18, 2012. The event will be offered free of charge.

In the mid-19th century, New York State officials began to collect Iroquois material culture, intending to preserve remnants of what they saw as a vanishing race. At the same time, Iroquois women were discovering that their beadwork was appealing to the fashionable Victorian women flocking to Niagara Falls and Saratoga Springs on the Grand Tour of America.

This multimedia presentation by Dr. Deborah Holler traces the historic development of Iroquois beadwork and costume, which came to define the public image of “Indian-ness” around the world. Images are drawn from the collections of the Lewis Henry Morgan and Rochester museums, as well as private collections. These images also illuminate the contributions of the Iroquois to the textile arts, as well as the complex cultural exchange that defined the fashions of 19th century New York State.

Dr. Deborah Holler is a Lecturer and Mentor at Empire State College and teaches in Cultural Studies, Literature and the Arts. Her articles and creative writing have been published in regional and national magazines as well as academic journals. She has presented her lectures at national and international conferences, historical societies, and cultural events throughout New York State and is currently working on projects concerning the life and times of 19th century Seneca Caroline G. Parker Mountpleasant.

This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

Photo: Pincushion, typical of souvenir made for tourists by Eastern woodland Indians. From the collection of the Adirondack Museum.

NYS Museum Research in Archaeology Lectures

Research findings on a 200-300-year-old skull found in a wall in Coeymans – the subject of recent news accounts – will be one of the topics discussed during a series of lectures on “Research in Archaeology” at the New York State Museum. The lectures will be held Wednesday through March 28 at 12:10 p.m. in the Huxley Theater. Lecture topics and dates are:

? March 14 – “Learning from Pottery.” Broken pieces of pottery, or sherds, are one of the most common artifacts recovered from archaeological sites younger than 3,000 years old. Dr. John P. Hart, director of the State Museum’s Research & Collections division, will
discuss recently completed research on sherds that provides information on how Native Americans interacted across what is now New York state.

? March 21 – “The Skull in the Wall: The Case of the Coeymans Lady.” The discovery of a human skull during repairs to the stone foundation at the historic Coeymans House in southern Albany County raised many questions about the person’s identity and manner of death.
Lisa Anderson, curator of bioarchaeology, will take a closer look at the skeletal evidence and historical context of the case.

? March 28 – “Cache and Carry: New Insights on Ice Age Technology of New York Paleoindians.” New York’s first people colonized the state at the end of the Ice Age. Ranging widely across New York and beyond, many have wondered how these hunter gatherers
created a portable stone technology compatible with their mobile way of life. Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, curator of archaeology, describes new insights from the study of a Paleoindian stone tool cache discovered in the upper Susquehanna Valley.

Founded in 1836, the State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Photo: Coeymans House from LOC Historic American Building Survey Digital Collection.

Albany Institute Celebrates Mummy Collection

The Albany Institute of History & Art will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Albany Mummies’ arrival with a Mummy Birthday Party on Sunday, November 6 from noon to 5 PM. This annual Family Festival is FREE with museum admission and will include Egyptian themed art activities, tours, and refreshments.

Learn the history of the mummies and ancient Egypt through guided tours of the Ancient Egypt exhibition at 1 PM and 3 PM. Children are invited to bring a toy to mummify in our art studio between 1 and 4 PM. Using hieroglyphics, participants can decorate cupcakes provided by The Placid Baker of Troy, NY.

The two mummies were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo, Egypt in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors and have become part of Albany history. They remain objects of ongoing international study, slowly unveiling clues about the ancient world in which they once lived. The Albany Institute will present a major exhibition on Egypt in 2013, The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, which will tell the full story of the mummies’ journey to Albany.

For more information about the Mummy Birthday Party contact Barbara Collins, Education Coordinator, at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405, collinsb@albanyinstitute.org.

Related Exhibition: Ancient Egypt Permanent Exhibition in the Egyptian Gallery

Three key concepts: “The Nile,” “Daily Life,” and “The Afterlife,” are explored through objects, text, and hands-on activities to give an overview of ancient Egypt. This gallery features the Albany Institute’s mummies, along with loan objects from major national museums.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy, male, Late Dynastic to Early Ptolemaic Period, (525-200 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History

A new book, Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, was published this spring by The History Press. Written by Joseph W. Zarzynski and Bob Benway, the book is a collection their columns previously published in the Lake George Mirror along with additional material. Zarzynski and Benway helped establish Bateaux Below, which works to preserve shipwreck sites in Lake George.

The depths of Lake George hold an incredible world of shipwrecks and lost history. Zarzynski and archeological diver Bob Benway present the most intriguing discoveries among more than two hundred known shipwreck sites. Entombed are remnants of Lake George’s important naval heritage, such as the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau, considered America’s oldest intact warship. Other wrecks include the steam yacht Ellide, and excursion boat Scioto, and the first Minne-Ha-Ha (including some new findings). Additional stories include an explanation behind the 1926 disappearance of two hunters, John J. Eden and L. D. Greene, of Middletown, and pieces on the lake’s logging history and marine railways.

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