Summer 2017 Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities


We are excited to announce the following two calls for volunteers:

  • Emergency Field Crew Volunteers
  • 2017 Excavations at the Galick Site

Call for Emergency Field Crew Volunteers

The VAS is organizing a crew of volunteers who can assist the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation with emergency fieldwork.

Interested in serving? Click here to complete the questionnaire.


2017 Excavations at the Galick Site

The Galick Farmstead and South Bay from the north (Photo by M.Moriarty).

The Galick Farmstead and South Bay from the north (Photo by M.Moriarty).

Call for Volunteers!

The South Champlain Historical Ecology Project (SCHEP) is seeking volunteers to participate in archaeological excavations this summer between May 30th – August 4th. SCHEP is a collaboration between the Vermont Archaeological Society, Castleton University, The Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and the U.S. Forest Service designed to document long-term human-environment interaction in the southern portion of the Lake Champlain Basin. This summer, SCHEP will be conducting its second season of excavations at the Galick Site (VT-RU-71), a large Precontact campsite and historical farmstead in West Haven, VT.

The Galick Site

Map of the Galick Site

Map of the Galick Site

The Galick Site is located on the historic Galick Farm property within The Nature Conservancy’s Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain. The Buckner Preserve is one of the most biologically diverse settings in Vermont and is home to many of the state’s rare or endangered species, including the timber rattlesnake and the five-lined skink. The southern end of Lake Champlain is also an important crossroads for long-distance transportation, with the northern terminus of a historical portage and later canal route to the Hudson River located just to the south at Whitehall, NY. This constellation of features made the Galick Farm area an important location in the early history of Vermont and a rich setting for a wide range of settlement and subsistence activities throughout the Precontact and Historical eras.

The Galick Site was first identified as a potentially important Precontact site in 1969 by Richard Passino. In the 1970s, Dean Snow and students from SUNY Albany excavated a dozen shovel tests at the site as part of the Lake George Project. More recently, personnel from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation identified other sites on the Galick Farm property. In addition, numerous archaeologists and 20th century visitors examined the large collection of artifacts William Galick and his family had found on their farm. Although no exhaustive inventory was made before the present, notes on the collection by Passino and others indicated an extensive and long-term Native American presence in the area.

Student participants during the 2016 field season (Photo by M.Battey).

Student participants during the 2016 field season (Photo by M.Battey).

SCHEP Investigations in 2016

SCHEP’s investigations at the Galick Site are designed to delineate the site’s spatial and chronological extent, with the long-term goals of enhancing our understanding of local ecology, increasing awareness of cultural resources, and evaluating the Galick Site’s potential nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Investigations in 2016 included the excavation of 78 Phase I shovel test pits across an area of approximately 5,500 m2 and the analysis of several thousand artifacts. SCHEP also began the process of cataloguing the extensive William Galick Collection.

The 2016 season was made possible by generous funding from the Vermont Community Foundation’s South Lake Champlain Fund, the Vermont Archaeological Society, and Castleton University, along with diverse assistance and support from The Nature Conservancy, the Green Mountain National Forest, and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Participants included 19 undergraduates from Castleton University and the Community College of Vermont, and 85 volunteers from the VAS and other local organizations. Cumulatively, the project’s 104 students and volunteers donated more than 2,500 hours of field and laboratory work.

Volunteers from The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF Internship program in 2016 (photo by M.Moriarty).

Volunteers from The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF Internship program in 2016 (photo by M.Moriarty).

Although artifact analyses are ongoing, SCHEP’s 2016 season demonstrated that the Galick Site was likely a major campsite. All shovel tests were positive for Precontact Native American artifacts, and more than 6,000 flakes, dozens of fire-cracked rocks, and numerous formal and informal tools were recovered. Preliminary visual assessment of flakes suggests that the site’s occupants utilized an interesting mix of local Vermont lithic materials as well as those from sources in the Hudson Valley, a situation anticipated by the Galick Site’s position at the interface between these two regions.

SCHEP’s excavations and ongoing analysis of the William Galick Collection indicate that the Galick Site was utilized for more than 11,000 years. The earliest diagnostic artifacts recovered in SCHEP excavations were two partial Cormier/Nicholas projectile points and the base from a Ste. Anne/Varney lanceolate point dating to the Late Paleoindian era (11,200-9,500 calendar years ago). Paleoindians were likely attracted to the Galick Site’s position along a freshwater tributary just south of the Champlain Sea, providing for extensive maritime, riverine, and terrestrial subsistence activities.

Points from SCHEP excavations, 2016 (photos by M. Moriarty)

Points from SCHEP excavations, 2016 (photos by M. Moriarty)

The Late Archaic (6,000-3,000 cal. BP) and the Middle-to-Late Woodland (100 BCE–1,600 CE) periods were also well represented in both the SCHEP excavations and the Galick Collection. During both the Archaic and Woodland periods, the local mosaic of mixed wetlands and diverse upland resources would have made the Galick Site a remarkably rich setting for seasonal or possibly year-round use. Likewise, the close proximity to transportation routes would have made the Galick Site an obvious way station for trade and travel between Lake Champlain and the Hudson River Valley.

Volunteer Opportunities in 2017

In 2017, SCHEP will be continuing its investigations at the Galick Site with the goal of completing Phase I test pitting and limited Phase II excavations. Volunteers are invited to participate on the following dates:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
May 30 May 31 June 1 June 2
June 5 June 6 June 7 June 8 June 9 June 10
June 12 June 13 June 14 June 15 June 16
June 19 June 20 June 21 June 22 June 23
June 26 June 27 June 28 June 29 June 30
July 5 July 6 July 7 July 8
July 10 July 11 July 12 July 13 July 14
July 20 July 21
July 27 July 28
August 3 August 4

To sign up, please send an email to vasvolunteer2017@gmail.com. In your email, please include the following information:

NAME (and age if under 18) for each volunteer in your group.
CONTACT INFO (email and cell number) for weather-related cancellations.
DATES REQUESTED (space is limited)
MEETING LOCATION (where we should expect to meet you; see below)

Please allow us 1-2 days to respond and confirm. Space is limited so please sign up early to secure your preferred dates. School and camp groups are welcome, but large groups must reserve space well in advance.

Directions

SCHEP’s investigations are taking place within The Nature Conservancy’s Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain.  The preserve is located approximately a half hour west of Rutland off of Rt. 4, just north of Whitehall, NY.

You have two options for meeting up with us.  First, we will rendezvous at 8:30 AM in the parking lot behind Leavenworth Hall on the Castleton University campus and caravan out to the site.  Directions to Castleton can be found here.  The Leavenworth parking lot is #38 on the campus map located here.

You may also choose to meet us in the preserve.  If so, we will be arriving at the parking lot for the Susan Bacher Trail at approximately 9:00 AM.  Directions to the preserve are available here.  If you are using your GPS, follow Galick Road to where it ends at a gate.  If you arrive late, park and continue on foot past the gate, and then follow the first tractor trail you see on the left.  You will find us in the large field west of the large historical barns.

What to Bring?

  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes. The site is a short walk from the parking area, but you will be working around sharpened shovels and other heavy gear.
  • Comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Pants are highly recommended as protection against ticks and poison parsnip.
  • Rain gear. A poncho to cover yourself and your pack is ideal.
  • Hat and sunglasses. It can be very sunny out at the site.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Lunch and snacks. Treats that can be shared are always welcome!
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Gloves are not necessary, but might protect your hands while working a screen.
  • All tools will be provided by the project.

Other Vital Points

  • The Buckner Preserve is owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy. Visitors must follow all Preserve Visitor Guidelines.
  • No prior experience is necessary to participate. All are welcome.  Anyone with special considerations, however, should contact us well in advance.
  • There are no indoor restrooms in the preserve, though there are numerous facilities in Whitehall, NY, approximately 10 minutes away by car.
  • You will be asked to sign a release form prior to participation in the project.
  • Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Service animals are welcome. Please leave all other pets at home.
  • There is no camping in the preserve and fires are prohibited.
  • Visitors to the preserve are prohibited from removing any plants, animals, or rocks. All artifacts will be collected by the project.
  • The preserve is home to a small and highly endangered population of timber rattlesnakes. Although they do not prefer the grassy field we are working in, you should still take care to look where you put your hands and feet.  In the unlikely event that you see a rattlesnake, do not approach it!  For more information on Vermont rattlesnakes, check out the VT Fish and Wildlife information page.
  • If you have any allergies or potential health concerns, please make sure you bring the appropriate medicines and treatments.
  • We will be providing a contact number for weather related cancellations with your confirmation email.

Check us out on Facebook! We post photos and other information throughout the field season.

Other questions?  Contact Dr. Matthew Moriarty at schep.research@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you out there!!!

To sign up, please send an email to vasvolunteer2017@gmail.com. In your email, please include the following information:

NAME (and age if under 18) for each volunteer in your group.
CONTACT INFO (email and cell number) for weather-related cancellations.
DATES REQUESTED (space is limited)
MEETING LOCATION (where we should expect to meet you; see below)

Please allow us 1-2 days to respond and confirm. Space is limited so please sign up early to secure your preferred dates. School and camp groups are welcome, but large groups must reserve space well in advance.


The best way to stay updated about fieldwork opportunities is to subscribe to our email newsletter!

The following are unaffiliated organizations that may have fieldwork opportunities available:

Northeast Archaeological Research Center (NE ARC)
University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program
Vermont Agency of Transportation Archaeological and Historic Resources

To list a project open to volunteers or students please contact us.