ALLEGANY — Demonstrations for flintnapping, basket weaving and archeology exploration will be conducted during a free Community Archaeology Day event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Canticle Farm along Old State Road, located off Route 417 in Allegany.
Dr. Steve Howard, a native of the Olean area and field director at the Galt archeological site in Florence, Texas, has been conducting field work at the Bockmier site in Allegany for the past several weeks. The work will continue through Aug. 14.
During the past three summers, Dr. Howard has directed field work at several areas in Allegany on South Nine Mile Road and Route 417. During the exploration work, he and volunteers have found undisturbed cultural features such as rock ovens from the Archaic Period, from 8,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C., as well as biface tools representing several time periods. The site contains artifacts from the late Woodland period dating back approximately 800 years ago.
His team of volunteers, from the local area and as far away as Colorado, are uncovering features at the Bockmier site, which may have contained a longhouse used by an ancient civilization.
“We haven't exposed enough to delineate a longhouse yet, but we do have a few interesting features that will be cleaned up for inspection by the public by Saturday,” Dr. Howard said. “We have found a few more large pottery fragments, and will have several artifacts from here and around the region displayed.”
Volunteers from the Seneca Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca will provide basket weaving demonstrations, and other local crafts people will conduct a pottery workshop, he said.
Also planned is an artifact identification booth and site tours of the on-going archeology exploration work.
“People are also welcome to volunteer or watch the archaeology in progress,” Dr. Howard said. Volunteers have arrived at the site on a regular basis over the past few weeks and more are welcome.
“Children are also welcome, but for digging we recommend 14 and older,” he advised. “If there is a mature (child under 14) we recommend that they have an adult with them.”
Another activity of interest at Saturday’s event will be flintnapping demonstrations by volunteers with the archeology team.
Volunteer Jay McCollough, a student with Jamestown Community College’s field school, said flintnapping is the process of shaping chert, or flint, into tools.
“You use some type of a hammer stone and knock flakes off” of the flint, Mr. McCollough explained. “By removing flakes across the whole piece of rock you reduce it down into a workable form, and touch it up to make something like an arrowhead” or other projectile points.
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(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at firstname.lastname@example.org)