BUFFALO, N.Y. – UB and the Erie Canal Harbor Development
Corporation present an opportunity for visitors – including
children – to learn what archaeologists do, how they
work and what they can teach us about life along the terminus of
the Erie Canal in Buffalo.
WHAT: The summer Demonstration Archaeological
Excavation of the Erie Canal terminus in downtown Buffalo. The
public is invited to watch the work, ask questions and learn
about life on Buffalo’s waterfront from 1700, when the first
Europeans began to influence indigenous life and culture in this
region, until the mid-twentieth century.
WHERE: The site is directly across Main Street from the
“Webster block,” bounded by Main and Hanover streets
east of the Skyway pier. Hanover Street runs between Marine Drive
and Prime Street. The site will be marked with large banners.
WHEN: This year, the excavation site will be deeper
and wider than last year, so it must be opened with a backhoe on
June 5. Two months of hand-excavation will follow. A team of
archaeologists and historians will work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(cleanup begins at 3 p.m.) on June 5, 15, 19 and 29; July 3, 13,
17, 27 and 31, and August 7, 10 and 21.
BEST TIME FOR PRESS COVERAGE: June 29 and beyond.
WHO: A team of professional archaeologists and
historians, along with University at Buffalo graduate students,
will conduct the excavation, which is sponsored by the UB
Archaeological Survey in Department of Anthropology and the Erie
Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
WHAT’S NEW: The excavation period is two months
longer than in past years; large banners will describe the work
going on; artifacts uncovered during previous digs will be
displayed and their significance in understanding historical life
on Buffalo’s waterfront will be explained by the
archaeologists. Because this dig is bigger and deeper than
previously, some artifacts are expected to be older than in the
WHAT KIND OF ARTIFACTS WILL WE SEE? Because the canal
terminus was an industrial and residential site for more than a
century, as well a pass through site for immigrants moving west and
ships moving east and west, the team so far has found a variety of
industrial and maritime tools and tool parts, oyster shells,
bottles, small metal objects, household items, ceramics, crockery
and personal items like a doll, pipes, etc.
CONTACT: Nathan Montague, by phone at 716-352-6666