On July 5-6 the public is invited to tour an active archaeological dig in Schoharie County and see some of the 200,000 artifacts that have been uncovered at the prehistoric site, which dates to 2000 BC.
The New York State Museum and the University at Albany's Anthropology Department will host the seventh annual open house from 10am-2pm both days at the Pethick site on Smith Road, off of Route 7/30A in the Village of Central Bridge.
Cooking hearths, storage pits and other food processing areas have been found at the site. The majority of the artifacts date to the Late Woodland period (900-1500 AD) and Early Woodland period (1000 BC-1 AD) but additional evidence suggests that the location has been occupied frequently dating back to at least 2000 BC.
State Archaeologist Christina Rieth of the New York State Museum and Sean Rafferty, associate professor of Anthropology at the University at Albany, will discuss New York State Archaeology and the relationship of the Pethick site to other nearby sites in the Schoharie Valley, as well as to prior excavations conducted by archaeologists nearby.
They also will discuss how artifacts found at this site are similar to or different from other sites of similar age and how landscape features, such as the Schoharie Creek, have played an important role in the occupation of the site.
Students from the University at Albany's Anthropology Department will provide tours of the site and active excavation areas, but visitors are welcome to explore at their own pace and stay as long as they would like.
The privately-owned site is in its eighth season of excavation and is the home of an eight-week archaeology field school for both undergraduate and graduate students. As part of the field school, students preserve and catalogue the artifacts, which will ultimately become part of the museum's collections.
The State Museum is a program of the State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education.
Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am-5pm except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is free.
Further information can be obtained by calling 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.