This is the place to find out the latest developments in the AVP. Find out what new archaeological discoveries have been made, and find out how to volunteer for an archaeological investigation.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Online Donations

To make it easier to support the Allegheny Valley Project, we've installed a "Donate" button in the upper right side of the page. The button provides a secure transaction environment powered by PayPal, and you can use most major credit cards or a PayPal account. Your donations help us purchase supplies for archaeological activities, pay for research expenses such as radiocarbon dating, and pay for overhead costs involved in day-to-day operations. If your donation is $15 or more, you will be counted as a Supporting Member. Donations of $50 or more will receive an electronic receipt to print out for tax purposes. We welcome business sponsors as well. Email us at with any questions, comments or directions concerning your donation (if you want to fund a particular activity, for example). Ask to be put on our email and/or paper mailing list to receive the AVP newsletter. To all of our current and future Supporting Members: your support is greatly appreciated! Remember, the AVP is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, so your donation is tax deductible. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New email

The Allegheny Valley Project now has a new email address! To contact us for any reason, email .

Monday, December 2, 2013

SUNY JCC Field School 2014 Information

The 2014 field school runs during the second summer session (begins July 14 and runs to August 8), and is worth 3 credit hours at SUNY JCC. The course title is ANT 8509, and the Course Registration Number (CRN) is 4113. Forms can be found at . Registration is open from January 2 until July 3. Tuition for this year is $528 for NYS residents (be sure to submit the residency form), and $1056 for non-resident students.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Just a reminder... you can follow us on Facebook as well!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Field Season 2014 Dates

Field Season 2014 will run from July 7th through August 12th, with the field school running from July 14th through August 8th. We will be welcoming volunteers every day throughout the season, even when the field school is running.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Handful of Rimsherds

Here are a handful of rimsherds that represent at least 6 unique pots from the 2013 field season at Bockmier One. Smaller rimsherds such as these are far more common than the large sections that we discovered in the pits. Most of these are decorated with Ontario Oblique motifs.

Monday, October 14, 2013

More of Pot 'A'?

These cordmarked fragments may be sections of the bowl of the pot known as Pot 'A', described in an earlier post below. These and several smaller cordmarked potsherds were collected from the same units as the neck and rimsherds. If they are from the same pot, they collectively represent another large section of a pot, despite the context in which they were found - mostly within the plow zone. There is, of course, the chance that more of the pot remains in the units to the west.

The fragment below, while similar to those above, was found a few meters to the west. It still may represent a section of the same pot, but more likely represents another pot that was similarly produced. This was found adjacent to a large rim and shoulder section, but its thickness and temper composition suggest that the two sections are from different pots.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

F13-07 Large Pot Section

Here are the three segments of the base section of a large pot excavated from Feature 13-07 in unit N249 E158. The base was cordmarked, but has some simple stamp impressions as well. It is unclear whether any of the rims thus identified at the Bockmier One site are from this pot. More of the pot remains in the adjacent unit, to be excavated next season.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


The newsletter pottery discussion was bumped to the next issue, due out in early January, so in the mean time, I'll be posting some bits of pottery information here from time to time. First up is an interesting potsherd from the transitional area of a grit-tempered pot, between the neck and shoulder. The body of the pot, beginning at the shoulder, is cordmarked, while the neck is smooth, with two parallel tracks of impressions known as punctates running diagonally from the shoulder presumably to the rim decoration. Rims have yet to be identified for this particular pot.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Newsletter

The electronic newsletter will be distributed this week. If you're not on the email list, contact me at [that's an sph followed by the number one (1), not the letter el (l)]. The hard copies will be a little later this year, as they are being mailed from my temporary abode in London.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pot "A"

Over 2000 artifacts have been processed from this season, including a few surprises, like pot "A" which was first encountered on the surface more than 10 years ago... Several more fragments were recovered during excavations this year. More about this and other artifacts in the newsletter, which will be out later this month. Soil and charcoal samples await processing early next year.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


In the last few days of the dig, attention was focused on F13-07 in the units N249 E157 & E158. The feature is quite large, measuring more than a meter and a half E-W and stretching a meter before disappearing into the north wall. Next season work will resume on this important discovery.

Laurie was the screener for most of the the feature processing.

Ryan and Amanda work around some newly emerging pottery fragments.



The pottery fragments turned out to be just the tips of a large section of a pot, which Ariel and Tim worked on uncovering.

This sizeable remnant is a part of the lower "bowl" section of a ceramic vessel.

Daniel worked carefully to remove the pot, keeping all the pieces together to aid reconstruction.

 Here is an overview of F13-07, complete with adjacent postmolds and the pottery in situ.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

F 13-05

Another surprise from Feature 13-05...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Final week!

It's our last week of excavations already... time sure flies. We will be running errands on Thursday, but today, Wednesday and Friday we will be digging 8:30-4. Saturday and Sunday are backfill days.

Feature 13-05 showed some promise, and then turned out to be filled with pottery, chert fragments and large chunks of charcoal. Cynthia and Jim had their hands full recording all of the data afforded by this shallow pit feature. The plow probably removed much of the upper portion, but enough remains for a nice dataset.

Cynthia exposing FCR and large potsherds in Feature 13-05.

Recording an artifact from Feature 13-05.

At the base of level 2 in F 13-05, a large potsherd still pokes out of the next level. Note rodent burrows eminating to the north.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Feature 13-06

Large pottery fragments, charcoal, and now a nice triangle... may Feature 13-06 yield much more data as we progress...

Jill's "jackpot" from the plow zone above Feature 13-06.


This rimsherd and several other fragments of the same pot are turning up at the base of a plow furrow. The sherds resemble sherds found on the surface a few years back (see the upper left corner of the photo of the 13 unique vessels from the surface surveys on the Bockmier Point and Bockmier 1 page). The design motif along the rim is called Middleport Crisscross.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Area C

Area C has become a "hot spot" of activity, since two large features have appeared within the last few days. Features 13-05 and 13-06 appeared as large negative spikes on the gradiometer maps, and both have been hit by the plow a few times, pulling up large chunks of pottery. Our hope is that the majority of these features were left intact, and will yield subsistence information, like charred food remains and seeds. We are currently expanding units around the features, to get a plan view before cutting into them for profiles. Exciting work, so come on down to volunteer or just see what we're up to!
Feature 13-05 emerges in the north half of the unit. Flakes and pottery can be seen in situ along the north wall, above the North Arrow. The dark soil to the south is a deep plow furrow running from NW to SE. 

Pow Wow

AVP volunteers enjoyed a day of culture at the Seneca Pow Wow Saturday. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

T shirts

The site t shirts are available! They are provided at cost ($10 each), but supporting members get a $5 discount. Come down and get yours! Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Atl Atl Day

Yesterday's technology lesson ended with a session of atl atl dart throwing... volunteers of all ages enjoyed a few tosses.
Volunteer Tim and Vision 2020 intern Caleb.

AVP intern Daniel.

Canticle Farm manager Mark.

Volunteer Celia.

AVP intern Ariel.
Daniel again. 

Volunteer Jill.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


As a part of the AVP experience, we will be attending the Pow-Wow in Salamanca this Saturday. We will be digging at the site today through Friday from 8-4, and all volunteers are welcome!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Schedule Change

We will be off on Monday, July 15, and will resume excavations the next day. Come out and join us!


We now have three numbered features, two of which will be expanded through additional 1 X 1 pits. One appears to be a cylindrical pit, used for storage, and the other appears to be a hearth. We are still hoping for postmolds...

Volunteers Tim, Jean and Leigh working at N 238 E 184, where the possible hearth (F13-03) was later found.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Museum Tour

Jare Cardinal gave a wonderful tour at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum for our interns and volunteers. Thanks Jare! We're back at the site 8-4 for the next several days, and we welcome local volunteers of all ages! Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Day in the Life...

How do we spend our day at the AVP? Here are a few images from throughout an AVP day.
Greeting the morning sunlight from the window of the "shalley" (Jean speak for chalet).
Master Tom preparing some of us for the day's work with a little morning yoga in the greenhouse.

Daniel and Ariel preparing a new screen.

Now they're setting up a 1 X 1 unit to use the new screen.

Jim showing off the unfinished celt he discovered on the surface at Area C.

We work in the field...literally.
 A plan view of Feature 13-02, beautifully prepared by Becky, Tom and Jim.
Tom and Laurie washing artifacts in the on-site lab space provided by the wonderful people at  Canticle Farm.

The crew enjoying an evening at Napoli Pizza in Olean.
Then, of course, we head off to our quarters and sleep soundly, awaiting the next eventful day...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Area C

A portion of Area C (the target area) has been cleared and set into the grid. Peripheral units are being finished up, and soon we will all be excavating in the 'hotspot'. Hopefully, the anomalies will turn out to be data-rich, and we also hope that some postmolds have survived the deep plowing.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Virginians and Texans have arrived. We still have plenty of room for local volunteers, as we have only two student interns. Remember to check us out and 'like' us on Facebook!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


We've had a few nice days in a row. While we're waiting for the cover crop to be turned down in the target area, the perimeter test pits are turning up plenty of debitage and pottery fragments.

Volunteers Laurie and Tom screening at Area A.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Our first 1X1 of the season

Yesterday we were lucky enough to have a full workday without a drop of rain! We set up grid points from the 2007-2009 grid and used the gradiometer data from 2009 to choose a couple initial locations for test pits. Our first 1X1 is located over an anomaly at N258 E202, and we were nearly at the base of the plow zone before it finally began to rain. We will hopefully finish the plow zone level today, and map the base... and find out what the anomaly represents. The test pit has so far yielded some flakes (clarence onondaga and huronian cherts) and a tiny fragment of weathered pottery.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Mark, Kate and Julie from Canticle Farms have been wonderfully hospitable. Not only do we have a place to park, we also have access to the market building for lab space and the ever-important restroom facility. We will have to park off to the side of the building on Tuesdays and Fridays, when the farm market is open. For volunteers and visitors who may have a hard time walking to and from the excavation site, we can allow one or two vehicles to drive down in (please ask for the correct route before driving down in, as there are serious plow furrows on some of the lanes), if they agree to make bathroom runs from time to time. Unfortunately, this will only work on days when there is no rain, as it is easy to get stuck in the field when it's wet. Labs will generally be held on rain days other than Tuesday and Friday, and perhaps later in the season we can schedule a weekly lab day on Sunday or Wednesday (or both), for folks who want to help out, but may not want to spend the day in the field. Come on out to volunteer or visit! We're at the new Canticle Farms facility at 3809 Old State Road (formerly Bockmiers Market) in Allegany. If we get enough students enrolled, the field school will begin July 8. If not, there will be that much more room for volunteers!

Field Season 2013!

OK, so we've been off to a VERY rainy start at the Bockmier One site at Canticle Farms. I managed to get the supply tent set up, as well as relocating the site datum from 2009 (in between bursts of heavy rain), and we will begin preliminary testing tomorrow (probably in between bursts of heavy rain). Yesterday after one of the many downpours throughout the day, I snapped this photo... a sign of good things to come?

Should we be digging for a pot of gold instead of science?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Field Season 2013

Field Season 2013 is nearly upon us! Funding for this season's equipment and supplies comes mainly from donations from A. Altenburg, J. Patton, T. Sherman and C. Isbrecht, as well as several supporting members. Though we have a field school scheduled, but there are still ample opportunities for volunteers to participate. This year, on non-field school days, walk-on volunteers are welcome. This includes the entire week prior to the field school and Saturdays and some Sundays thereafter (see calendar below). If you'd like to volunteer on a field school day, a limited number of positions are available for which to schedule in advance on a first-come-first-serve basis (days are filling up, so schedule as soon as possible). Email or visit the site to schedule. It promises to be an exciting season!
This blog will again serve as a communications window during the field season, with updates at least every few days. Any scheduling changes that may occur will also be posted here.

     28 – site preparations
     29 – 9-11am: field workshop
             11am-5pm: field volunteer shifts
     30 – site closed/rain day


     1 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     2 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     3 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     4 – 9am-2pm: field volunteer shifts
     5 – lab preparations
     6 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     7 – field school preparations
     8-12 – 8am-4pm: field school*
     13 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     14 – 11am-4pm: field volunteer shifts
     15-19 – 8am-4pm: field school*
     20 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     21 – site closed/rain day
     22-26 – 8am-4pm: field school*
     27 – field volunteer shifts
     28 – 11am-4pm: field volunteer shifts
     29-31 – 8am-4pm: field school*


     1-2 – 8am-4pm: field school*
     3 – 9am-6pm: field volunteer shifts
     4 – 11am-4pm: closing volunteer shifts

*The JCC field school requires a minimum number of registered students. If the minimum is not met, the field school will be cancelled. In that event, all registered students will be refunded their tuition fees through JCC. Any students that had registered and planned to attend the field school will be welcome to participate as unpaid AVP interns, to gain valuable field experience. In the event that the field school is cancelled, the project will be open to walk-on volunteers every working day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring 2013 Newsletter

The newsletter for Spring 2013 has been sent electronically, and will be sent by mail by the end of the week. If you are on the email list and haven't received it in your inbox, check your spam box (some filters don't like mass emails). If you don't currently receive a newsletter but would like to, email AVP executive director Steve Howard at and ask to be put on the email list, the mailing list, or both. Remember, you do not have to be a supporting member of the AVP to receive the newsletter or participate in any AVP activities. Supporting memberships ($15 individual, $25 family, $10 senior/student) and additional donations do help us cover the costs of equipment and supplies for the field school and lab. Ask in your email for a donation/membership form.

Field School Announcement

Tuition for the field school is $510 for in-state (NY) and $915 for out of state ($170/305 per credit hour respectively).