The IC archaeology department will present a unique opportunity for students to excavate at a 16th century Cayuga village site -- 339-27400 Archaeological Field School, 4-6 credits (variable), directed by Jack Rossen, held May 27-July 1, 2005.
In 1779, during the American Revolution, the U.S. Continental Army led by General John Sullivan swept through the Finger Lakes, burning 43 Native American settlements and destroying crops and orchards. This action included the destruction of Cayuga settlements and the dispersal of the Cayuga people. The Cayuga Nation landscape is now being examined and reconstructed through archaeological research along the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake.
In 2003, excavations were conducted on the fringes of a major Cayuga village site. A trash midden with many artifacts was documented, and those materials are now being studied in the IC archaeology lab. The research raised the possibility that this site was a healers' village, a place where people from surrounding communities came for medical treatment.
This summer, we have been granted permission to continue this research in the center of the village where a farmer's crop field had previously stopped us. This year, we have an agreement to leave the field untilled. In the spring, we will be conducting remote sensing in the area to attempt to locate the village's houses. The 2005 field school will then excavate in areas found to be most promising by the remote sensing.
In my 30 years of doing archaeological fieldwork, I have had varying levels of optimism about the coming research. Sometimes I am lukewarm and hopeful and other times I am very excited. This year, I am certain of extremely important finds. No detailed archaeological fieldwork has ever been conducted in the central buildings of a major Cayuga village.
Students will learn archaeological field techniques, including excavation, mapping, and documentation. In examining the history of the Cayuga Nation and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, students will learn how archaeology serves as dialogue for contemporary political issues. This field school promotes a new vision of archaeology -- one that has active communication with and participation of Native people -- one that is a positive force for Native Americans. It furthermore promotes protection and stewardship of key archaeological sites in the Cayuga heartland.