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Blog: Archaeological field school wraps up with SUNY Adirondack president visit

Blog: Archaeological field school wraps up with SUNY Adirondack president visit

Thursday was the second to last day of the SUNY Adirondack Archaeological Field School dig on Rogers Island in Fort Edward.

Kristine Duffy, president of the school, stopped by to see how things were going.

Summer students Vanessa Hamilton and John Ferrone were in the dirt, gently brushing and scraping around bricks rising from their pit. 

Matthew Rozell, a renowned author and historian, supervised the site, which more than two centuries before was the home of an officer. Rozell, who has dug with lead archaeologist David Starbuck for years, once dug in the same spot back in the early 1990s, helping uncover a fireplace and a gold braid.

Rozell wasn't sure what Hamilton and Ferrone had uncovered just yet, but even after the field school ends on Friday, Rozell and Starbuck will keep digging and hopefully find out. 

"To find something new and uncover more from a dig that was almost 30 years ago is pretty phenomenal," Duffy said, watching the students. "I think what's fascinating is, it's never really work that's done."

Ed Carpenter, a Fort Edward village trustee and president of the Rogers Island Heritage Development Alliance, said there is plenty more to unearth to help tell the story of the 15,000 soldiers during the French and Indian War that once called the island home. 

"The past is coming to the future," Carpenter said. "It's a very exciting time, but with excitement comes questions."

The state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will visit the site, likely in the next few weeks, and survey what has been dug so far. 

Then the officer's house will likely be covered up forever. 

Those who have dug on Rogers Island for years, however, hope that other parts of the island can be explored. Starbuck is working on a few test pits in addition to the house. 

In the meantime, students are getting the experience of a lifetime.

"The college is proud to be a partner with Dr. Starbuck, whose vision and passion for uncovering and documenting history in this region is unparalleled," Duffy said.

— Gwendolyn Craig

Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1

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