Since 1998, Dr. Joseph Diamond, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at SUNY New Paltz,has been leading an Archaeological Field School on Historic Huguenot Street (HHS). Over the past fifteen years, archaeological investigations performed by both undergraduate and graduate students, have yielded numerous interesting finds including pottery, human burial sites, beads, and a palisade wall running along Huguenot Street. Original buildings have also been discovered including an earthfast house, which is a structure consisting of woven posts covered with dried mud.
This year for the first time, Dr. Diamond and his students are digging on property owned by The Reformed Church of New Paltz which is located directly across from the HHS library located at 88 Huguenot St. It is speculated that the original Huguenot church is buried somewhere on the property.
Eleven students including field crew chief Dylan Lewis, a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz, are working at the site this year in groups of two or three within five units. Units are 2m x 2m digging squares, and are worked through in layers called “contexts” that consist of 10cm increments. Within each context a “cultural context” can be found which is a section identified for having a specific function. For example, Unit 222 contains a Native American hearth. All units are dug down to the yellow subsoil and unique objects are often found along the way. Unit 224 has uncovered a rock line, Unit 223 has unearthed some prehistoric pottery and building materials, Unit 221 has discovered metal chunks, building materials and a number of animal bones, and Unit 220 has found construction debris. The field school will be wrapping up soon, so I will keep everyone posted on final discoveries. Of course, all are welcome to come by and see the site!