Virtual Excavation of Mount Independence
Congratulations! You’ve been selected to join a team of archaeologists to investigate the Revolutionary camp experience at one of the most important archaeological sites in America: Mt. Independence in Orwell, Vermont.
Participating fully in this virtual excavation will require you to complete about 2-4 hours of activities on your own time prior to attending a 1.5 hour synchronous Zoom session when we will all meet together as a group to compare our finds.
We will offer these synchronous Zoom sessions periodically throughout the year. Currently, we are offering the following dates. Please register for your preferred date by clicking here.
Thursday, July 7, 2022, 6:30pm – 8pm via Zoom
- Saturday, September 3, 2022, 10:30am – 12pm via Zoom
If you’re new to archaeology or to Mt. Independence – don’t worry, we’ll get you all trained and ready to go! Are you a seasoned archaeologist or Revolutionary War history buff? Great! We suggest that everyone complete the training regardless of skill level. If you have archaeological experience and are pressed for time, we recommend that you at least watch the third video, which demonstrates the virtual excavation technology.
Please complete the pre-excavation training steps below prior to your Zoom session:
- Read David Starbuck’s article, “Archaeology at Mount Independence: An Introduction,” which was published in The Journal of Vermont Archaeology in 1994. (9 pages long) Click here to download.
- Complete this short warmup exercise.
- Watch the Thinking Like an Archaeologist Part 1 Video (9 mins)
- Watch the Thinking Like an Archaeologist Part 2 Video (10 mins)
- Watch the Thinking Like an Archaeologist Part 3 Video (17 mins)
Virtual Excavation Instructions
It’s time to grab your shovel and trowel and head out into the field! Follow these steps to find your excavation site and catalog your artifacts. Make sure to complete these steps prior to your Zoom session!
- Find the email you received from the VAS and locate your Excavation Team and Locus Assignment.
- Download the “Artifact Catalog Template” Excel spreadsheet. (Note, if you don’t have Microsoft Excel, you can upload the spreadsheet to a Google Drive and edit it in Google Sheets for free. Or, you can download the pdf version, print it out, and fill it in by hand.)
- Follow this link to the Site Map and click on your Team’s Icon to get started.
- Once you navigate to your excavation units, record your artifacts on the catalog sheet. Develop your own classification system to help you answer your team’s research questions. (If you feel lost, watch the Thinking Like an Archaeologist Part 3 video as a refresher!)
- Save your artifact catalog forms for the synchronous session. You will be meeting with your team to discuss your findings!
Now that you’ve excavated your three test units and completed your artifact catalog, it’s time to compare notes with your excavation team and try to answer your research questions.
- Click on the Zoom link that came in your email invite from the VAS.
- Download this pdf to have handy during the Zoom meeting.
- Have fun!
Want to Dig Deeper?
If you are still curious about the archaeology and history of Mount Independence, we recommend checking out the following resources:
- Join author and educator, Ennis Duling for a virtual hike on Mount Independence (10 mins)
- Pick up a copy of Strong Ground: Mount Independence and the American Revolution, a 112-page, full-color, richly illustrated history of the Mount. Available for sale at the Mount Independence Visitors Center and the Vermont retailers listed at the link above.
- Read about the archaeological investigations at the Mount’s South Battery in Dennis Howe’s article from the Journal of Vermont Archaeology.
- Visit Mount Independence! See the archaeological site and its beautiful museum of artifacts for yourself!