Summer 2019 Archaeological Fieldwork and Educational Opportunities

We are excited to announce the following calls for volunteers and participants:

    • Emergency Field Crew Volunteers
    • 2019 Digging Dartmouth
    • 2019 Excavations at the Galick Site
    • Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom
    • Phoenix Burning: Case Study of a Lake Champlain Shipwreck

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.

Digging Dartmouth June 2019

Explore the early history of Dartmouth through an archaeological excavation at an 18th century house site on campus.  Archaeology faculty and students from the Department of Anthropology will be working daily June 3-16. Alums, students, and community members can participate in the excavations by signing up as a volunteer (half-day or longer), or just stop by to see the project in action, view some artifacts, and learn about what archaeology can teach us about the past.

2019 Excavations at the Galick Site

Call for Volunteers!

Figure 1: The Nature Conservancy’s Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain (Photo by The Nature Conservancy).

The South Champlain Historical Ecology Project (SCHEP) is seeking volunteers to participate in archaeological investigations this summer between June 10th and June 28th. SCHEP is examining long-term patterns in human-environment interaction in the southern portion of the Lake Champlain Basin. This summer, SCHEP will be conducting its fourth season of excavations at the Galick Site (VT-RU-71), a large Precontact campsite and Historical farmstead in West Haven, VT.

About 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 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.

Figure 2: Galick Site location (Map by Allison Stopyra).

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 2016–2018 included the excavation of 100+ Phase I shovel test pits across an area of approximately 6,500 m2 and the analysis of several thousand artifacts. SCHEP has also cataloged and documented more than 1,000 artifacts collected by William Galick and family while living and working at the site.

Although analyses are ongoing, SCHEP’s research has demonstrated that the Galick Site was a major center of activity during the Precontact and Historical eras. Almost all test pits have been positive for Precontact Native American and later Euro-American artifacts, and the site likely covers an area of at least 4 acres. Diagnostic artifacts from both SCHEP investigations and the Galick Collection indicate multiple occupations stretching out over the interval from Late Paleoindian (ca. 11,600 Cal BP) times to the Middle-to-Late Woodland period (ca. 100 BCE–1,600 CE), with extensive evidence for Colonial and more recent historical activity at the site.

Figure 3: Students from Proctor Elementary School learning about the importance of screening in archaeology (photo by M.Moriarty).

Each summer SCHEP partners with the Elnu Abenaki and The Nature Conservancy to host school groups at the Galick Site. Over the last two years, SCHEP has hosted nearly 300 K-12 students on visits to the site where they learn about Native American history from Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan, interpret local ecology with experts from The Nature Conservancy, and gain a better understanding of archaeology by visiting with ongoing archaeological investigations. These efforts have been generously supported by the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s Education and Outreach program, the Vermont Community Foundation’s South Lake Champlain Fund, and the Vermont Archaeological Society.

Volunteer Opportunities in 2019

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 June 14
June 17 June 18 June 19 June 20 June 21
June 24 June 25 June 26 June 27 June 28

To sign up, please send an email to moc.l1568696397iamg@1568696397reetn1568696397ulov.1568696397pehcs1568696397. 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.

Figure 4: Undergraduate interns at the Galick Site (Photo by E.Moriarty).


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 8:00 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 8:30 AM.  Directions to the preserve are available here.  If you are using your GPS, follow Galick Road to where it ends at a gate; however, please be advised that GPS and online maps don’t always provide the best route.  In the past, people following GPS directions have found themselves transiting challenging dirt roads or waiting for a non-existent ferry.  To avoid problems, we highly recommend using the printed directions!

If you arrive at the site later than 8:30, 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, we do still see them from time to time.  They are not interested in us, but 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 moc.l1568696397iamg@1568696397hcrae1568696397ser.p1568696397ehcs1568696397.

We look forward to seeing you out there!!!

Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom

August 8-10, 2019
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association scholars, historians, and culture bearers present lectures and experiential learning on this vibrant regional culture.

In its third year, this course is designed to provide teachers with a deeper understanding of how indigenous culture continues into the 21st century and how to support Abenaki and Native students while presenting American history. Sessions include history and stereotypes, new classroom resources, age-appropriate activities, and more.

1 credit available through Castleton University
$375 ($550 with 1 credit)

Phoenix Burning: Case Study of a Lake Champlain Shipwreck

July 1-3, 2019
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Take an in-depth look at the earliest steamboat shipwreck in North America, the steamboat Phoenix (1815-1819), on the 200th anniversary of its epic demise. Witches, heroines, sabotage, or human error? Review first-hand accounts and archaeological data and artifacts collected from the wreck site and piece together the details. Do we have the full story? Does the archaeological evidence confirm the published conclusions?

1 credit available through Castleton University
$600 ($775 with 1 credit)

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.