One of the key concepts for seventh grade history is to help students realize that the Americas were full of people before the colonists arrived. My own image from childhood– a handful of Native Americans eating dinner with pilgrims– is simply not an accurate depiction of the abundant and thriving cultures that were present here.
Our students had a chance to realize this– in a small but real manner– last week. New York requires site assessments for building projects, and the school’s green initiative of the solar array underwent an archeological assessment as part of the planning and site preparation process.
For a couple of days, a small team of archeologists dug test holes, on a grid, to determine if an “important” archeological site might be on our campus. Our students had a chance to spend a short visit on the site to see the work.
Skipping to the end of the story: we do not have an “important” native American site on campus. (We learned that those are much more likely to be found near streams and creeks, which makes sense.) The findings are still exciting for us! A few of the test holes did reveal that hunters had likely stopped, at some point, on a part of what has become our campus, and the archaeologists determined this from the shards of flint napping they unearthed. We can imagine them dressing the meat from their hunt, and leaving a little refuse behind, to fascinate us, hundreds of years later.
After the pieces of stone have been photographed, they will be returned to our campus. As the landowners, we will have them for seventh graders and others study for years to come.