The Colgate Scene
September 2003

An authentic experience

Artifacts found at a site in Stockbridge, N.Y. by members of the 2003 Oneida Nation Summer Workshop in Archaeology include (counterclockwise from top left) a fragment of a smoking pipe, five European trade beads, decorated pottery, a preform (unfinished) projectile point, a burnt corn kernel, a projectile point and a shard of clay pottery.
For two weeks this past summer, a remote hillside in Stockbridge, N.Y., usually visited only by the occasional farm tractor, became alive with the sounds of shovels and sifters in search of pieces of central New York's past.

The 2003 Oneida Indian Nation Summer Workshop in Archaeology led by Jordan Kerber, associate professor of anthropology, began excavating at the Wilson site (named for its most recent owner) on the Oneida Indian Nation. The Oneida people inhabited the site during late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Many questions about the Oneidas' lives on the site remain, such as the settlement's dimensions, its population and how often it was occupied. These questions and others are closer to being answered thanks to the archaeological research conducted by Kerber and a team that included Colgate students and alumni, students from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Kansas and several local teenagers from the Oneida Indian Nation Youth Work/Learn Program. The team uncovered pieces of pottery, European trade beads, brass objects, projectile points, preforms (unfinished projectile points), animal bones, smoking pipe fragments and other cultural remains during the workshop. Kerber has been working with the Oneida youth on the project since 1998 and hopes to "provide an authentic experience to young Native Americans in rediscovering their heritage."


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