Archeology enthusiasts converged on the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville last week to learn how to conduct a professional dig.
The dig at the home of the 19th-century suffragette was part of an archeology field camp sponsored by two Liverpool groups. The camp, in its first year, was organized by Dr. Gregory Sohrweide of Baldwinsville, a member of the Friends of Historic Onondaga Lake and the William Beauchamp Chapter of the New York State Archeological Association. Both groups are associated with Ste. Marie Among the Iroquois.
"The desire was to have an archeology program for the public," said Sohrweide, who is president of the William Beauchamp Chapter. "It's designed to introduce people interested in archeology to the techniques used by professional archeologists."
The camp, which continues through Aug. 3, is led by Kim Christensen, a graduate student at the University of California's Berkeley campus. Christensen also held a field camp for other graduate students earlier in the month at the Gage House. In addition to teaching would-be Indiana Joneses about archeology, the field camp also assists those who run the house.
"[The dig] helps the [Matilda Joslyn Gage] Foundation with their restoration planning," Christensen said.
Digging the right way
"We want people to learn about archeology the right way," he said. "We don't want people to go out and start digging up their yards. We want them to do it in a professional way, and we want to teach people to do it professionally."
Sohrweide said that Christensen's expertise has proven invaluable at the dig site.
"She's a member of the William Beauchamp Chapter and we clicked together nicely," he said. "When we asked her, she was very willing to have us run these workshops. We wanted someone who is a professional to act as a project supervisor, and she's very good. She gives exposure to every aspect, from surveying the land to how to dig to cleaning and cataloging artifacts."