Field Update: Researching Sites in the East
People often ask the Conservancy’s regional staff members how we find archaeological sites to preserve. There isn’t really one answer, or rather there are many answers, as sites come to our attention in a wide variety of ways. The Conservancy also works with many different individuals and groups, including professional archaeologists, regional and state archaeological associations and their individual members, university professors, local historians, municipalities, the federal government and other non-profits. We also do a lot of the research ourselves, and rely heavily on state repositories of site files. This involves taking trips to state offices and museums, sorting through these files and archives, compiling and analyzing the available data, physically locating the sites on the current landscape, and determining their suitability for conservation as a Conservancy owned preserve.
Recently, the Conservancy’s eastern regional office was looking into significant archaeological sites around Buffalo, New York that may be in danger from being destroyed by development and other forces, and in need of conservation efforts.
The office received a great deal of help in these efforts from Sarah Hoffman, who currently holds a M.Sc. degree in Paleopathology and is pursuing her Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Using a list of potential sites in New York we had drafted, Sarah put together information for each one including the site forms, archaeological and historical research, location maps, and current property owner details. All of this information saves us a great deal of time and allows us to focus more quickly on the actual acquisition phase of these potential projects. Hopefully we will find some excellent candidates in this group of sites and will be set for visiting some once the snow melts. Thanks to scholars like Sarah, and excellent university anthropology programs like that at the State University of New York at Buffalo, we are all working together to help preserve the past for the future.