Archaeology Field School investigates New York’s past on Huguenot Street

SUNY New Paltz anthropology major Carly Thomaset displays an animal jawbone she found during last year’s dig on Huguenot Street.

For the next three weeks, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) will be the site of an archaeological investigation as a field site for the Department of Anthropology at SUNY New Paltz, which sponsors the Archaeological Field School each year during the summer. Dr. Joseph Diamond, assistant professor of anthropology at SUNY New Paltz, directs the Archaeological Field School, and has been bringing students to HHS since 1998, where they spend seven hours per day at the site, weather permitting. Students receive intensive instruction in archaeological field and laboratory methods, including excavation techniques, mapping, recording, classification and analysis, and environmental, cultural and historical reconstruction. On rainy days and during the last week of the field school, students spend time in the laboratory curating and analyzing the artifacts that have been excavated. Also, they will be analyzing work from last year’s excavation of the cellar in the Abraham Hasbrouck House.

This summer, Professor Diamond is working with 15 graduate and undergraduate students and continuing field work on a stockade that was built between 1678 and 1680 and is located directly across from the 1705 DuBois Fort. During the past four years, student work has yielded numerous interesting finds from the period 1630 to 1695, including Frechen and Westerwald stoneware, Dutch majolica, French delft, French wine bottles, gunflints, muskets balls, the smoking pipes of “EB” (Edward Bird, 1630-1665) and “HG” (Hendrick Gerdes, 1668-1685), leaded glass window fragments, gutter hangers, hand wrought nails, Dutch red bricks, hearth tiles and trade goods such as copper and glass beads.


Previous excavations have also located the cellar remains of a stone house, a small frame structure, a cook house and a possible hayrick. Native American finds include material from most of New York State’s archaeological cultures from 7000 B.C. to European contact in 1609. Enslaved African finds may have included beads, coral, buttons, smoking pipes, ceramics, glassware and food remains.

Visitors are welcome to observe the Archaeological Field School at work first-hand, Monday through Friday. For more information, visit