President's Report Masthead
March 31, 2014
Archaeologists seek traces of battlefield

Jonathan Cohen
A field worker with Binghamton's Public Archaeology Facility records what has been found at the site of a Revolutionary War battle in Chemung, N.Y.

Archaeologists seek traces of battlefield

Experts from the Public Archaeology Facility recently took their shovels to a cornfield about 45 miles west of Binghamton, searching for evidence that could earn that site — the scene of a small but significant Revolutionary War battle — a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Four days of digging beneath the corn stubble yielded project director Michael Jacobson and his Binghamton University colleagues just a few modest items, including a charcoal smudge and the possible remains of a wooden post. But if test results show that those artifacts date from the late 18th century, it could be enough to convince National Register staff that the location of the Battle of Chemung should be preserved for further study.

Jacobson, PAF’s battlefield research coordinator, launched the dig in Chemung, N.Y., at the request of local residents who care about historic preservation. Once home to the Village of New Chemung, the site is a few miles east of the better-known Newtown Battlefield. Historians often treat the Newtown and Chemung encounters as one event, although they occurred two weeks apart.

“There was a local push to highlight the fact that Chemung was a separate battle from Newtown, and also to help preserve the landscape,” Jacobson says.

Read more about the project here: