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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

North America - New York - Pike's Cantonment Archaeology Project - 2015

North America - New York - Pike's Cantonment Archaeology Project - 2015

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2015-07-06
End Date 2015-07-31

Archaeology Field School Location

Plattsburgh, NY

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

SUNY Canton

Academic Credit

6 (Social Science)

Archaeology Field School Tuition

$1966 in-state $3010 out-of-state

Archaeology Field School Room and Board

Dorm housing available for an additional $570. No dining hall available

Archaeology Field School Travel
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs


Archaeology Field School Description

After the Americans failed to gain a foothold in British territory along the Champlain Valley in 1812, the Army withdrew to Plattsburgh, NY for the winter. There they commenced construction of a log town that would come to be known as Cantonment Saranac. The construction would take more than 30 days. In the meantime, some 200 men died of disease and exposure. In March 1813, the 1st Brigade marched out of Cantonment Saranac to Sackets Harbor. Sick and wounded remained at the camp until July, when a British raid threatened. The abandoned cantonment was burned by the British on July 31. For the next 190 years, it suffered decay and destruction as Plattsbrgh Air Force Base grew up around it. Part of the site, miraculously, would lay virtually undisturbed. The Zagreb site was discovered in 1993 and further tested in 1997. In 2011, a Battle of Plattsburgh Association-sponsored investigation led by Dr. Timothy Abel recovered diagnostic proof linking the site to the 15th US Infantry of 1812-1813, under the command of Col. Zebulon Pike (the same Pike who named Pike's Peak). Two Clinton Community College Field Schools, along with participants from the North Country Teacher Resource Center and Battle of Plattsburgh Association uncovered an intact cabin floor in 2012-2013 associated with an officer. Survey also led to the discovery of several more probable cabin features and associated kitchen areas. In 2015, students can expect to take part in testing these other cabin structures to reveal the layout of the camp. Excavations will focus on the associated kitchen and midden areas. The instruction will combine leadership skills with research strategies specialized for the investigation of military sites. Techniques for the survey and stratigraphic excavation of military sites will be emphasized, along with recognition of military hardware and culture. Students will work alongside professionals, student archaeologists and volunteers in a team atmosphere. The City of Plattsburgh lies between the majestic Adirondack Mountains on the west and serene Lake Champlain on the east. It is an historic city with roots extending back to the 17th century. Events of the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars unfolded along its banks and off its coast. During the War of 1812, Plattsburgh was host to the Army from September of 1812. In 1814, it repelled an attempted British invasion that helped bring the war to an end. After the war, the Army remained until their barracks were taken over the US Air Force. Plattsburgh Air Force Base played a significant role in the Cold War, and at the end was closed in 1995. Participation in the Pike's Cantonment Archaeology Project has already spawned a Senior Thesis. Additional research projects are available for theses and dissertations.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type

Historic, Military Sites

Time Period

War of 1812

Field School Setting/Conditions

The site is located in a wooded setting about 1/4 mile's walk from the parking area. The terrain is moderately rugged. Temperatures in July range from 60-90 degrees F. Weather conditions range from clear to rain. Cover is provided. Site hazards include insects and poison ivy. Students must provide their own sunscreen and insect repellent.

How is the project area accessed each day

Transport will be provided daily from the dorm to the site via SUNY Canton van.

What is the daily schedule for the field school

Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm Begins July 8 and ends July 31.

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school


Directors and Instructors

Dr. Timothy Abel Adjunct Professor of Anthropology SUNY Canton

Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn

Leadership Site Survey Stratigraphic Excavation Systematic Metal Detection Lab Techniques

On rain days will there be lab work?


Will there be additional organized activities?


Will there be additional organized activities?


Is travel restriced during free time?


Other resources students will find useful

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Dr. Timothy Abel Adjunct Professor of Anthropology SUNY Canton 34 Cornell Drive Canton, NY 13617

Field School Contact E-mail:
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