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Archive for the ‘Archeology’ Category

Explorers find wreck of 19th-century NY steamship, blown up in 1898, at bottom of Seneca Lake

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by Kassata Edwards, CBS6, link to original post

Are wolves making a come-back after years of being unheard of in New York? A research team at the State Museum has uncovered some interesting findings that could signal the return of the species to the Adirondacks. The last wolf was shot in the Adirondacks in the 1890’s.

“People have always wondered could a wolf even make it from the Great Lakes or Canada into NY State” says Roland Kays, Curator of Mammals at the New York State Museum.

Three wolves have migrated into NY State and Vermont in the last decade, then shot by coyote hunters. Researchers were excited to see wolves back in the Empire State but had one problem: with each reported case they couldn’t tell if the wolf was a wild animal or an escaped pet.

For one year they tested bone and hair samples from eight different wolves and discovered you are what you eat.

“We can see if the animal was in captivity and eating dog food or livestock or has a history of being in the wild eating deer and rabbits and mice” says Kays.

That’s how they confirmed that wild wolves made their way from the Great Lakes and Ontario from existing wolf populations into NY State looking for a mate.

“They’ve been pretty much extinct in the state so it would be great to see them return to wildlife especially in the Adirondacks” adds Kelleher.

It would be years down the line if we do end up seeing a full return.
“We don’t see any sign that there’s a breeding population” says Kays.
Of course that could all change if the species continues to migrate as they search for mates locally.

Click here for photos & a more detailed article: A century later, the wild wolf returns

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Once a Fast Track, Now a Real Hike to the Top of Mount Beacon

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Exhuming the Leather Man of the Hudson Valley

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

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Archeologists are excavating the recently unearthed foundation of a western New York lighthouse believed to be one of the first built along the Lake Erie shore.

Violent storms have eroded the shoreline and exposed the circular stone and brick base of the lighthouse in Dunkirk, about 53 kilometres southwest of Buffalo. The 18-metre-tall lighthouse was built in 1826 to help guide ships to Buffalo and the western terminus of the Erie Canal, which had opened a year earlier.

The tower was taken down in the 1850s and moved to another location nearby. The original foundation was later covered with soil and its exact location remained a mystery until recent storms washed away an adjacent breakwall. Archeologists have unearthed various artifacts, including porcelain plates and pottery from the 19th century.

Online: http://www.dunkirklighthouse.com

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This convenient pocket-sized book includes descriptions, short histories, and hiking directions to several dozen long-abandoned but still accessible iron mines in northern New Jersey and southern New York.  History & hikers guide to the historic 18th and 19th century iron mines of the NJ/NY Highlands by archeologist Edward Lenik. Over 40 mines in Bergen & Passaic Counties NJ and Orange & Rockland Counties, NY. Many illustrations, photos + maps.
Paperback, 160 pages, isbn 1880775077    (isbn13: 9781880775073)

http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Mine-Trails-Historic-Highlands/dp/1880775077

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mastodonThis gets filed under “things you’ll never find from a car.”

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By: Sarah Gantz / The Citizen, link to original post

There it was: the rusted iron skeleton of a wheel once sturdy enough to haul cargo, an 18-inch diameter piece of history poking up through the earth. Excavators did not dare give it an unearthing yank — the thin bars of iron could crumble if not handled with care. So they brushed dirt, bits of shale and earthworms aside with their flat trowels, layer by layer, fearful of ruining their hours of work.

The site was Clinton’s Ditch, Lock 62 on the Erie Canal. The goal was to excavate the plot of vegetation and soil alongside the canal, where a lock tender worked and lived.

The Montezuma Historical Society set out in August to uncover what they could about life along the canal by convening an archaeological dig. After uncovering an assortment of pottery pieces, warped nails, a horseshoe and other remnants of a past life, the volunteer team was closing up the three meter-square plots Saturday — but not before resurrecting that wheel.

“I think it’s neat,” said Bunny Baker, of Montezuma, as she sifted a pile of dirt, picking out orange bits of pottery and slivers of glass. Nearby, a pile of brown lunch bags were filled with the same bits and pieces of history — chunks of mortar, rusted nails and a mud-caked horseshoe that may have belonged to a mule. “To think it’s right in our own back yard,” she said.

A short walk into the woods off Chapman Street in Montezuma leads to a clearing where men once worked around the clock to help boats pass through a particularly shallow area the Seneca River.

At Clinton’s Ditch, cargo was unloaded from the boats to make them lighter and able to pass through the shallow section of the river. Cargo was transported by wagon — the still half-buried wheel may have belonged to one — to the other side, where it was reloaded.

One of the canal’s original locks, Clinton’s Ditch was used until an aqueduct was built in 1856, said Michael Riley, a board member of the Canal Society of New York State and Mentz historian. The lock has been abandoned since, slowly being buried under a century and a half of dirt, until now. “It brings the people into it,” Riley said. “It’s the human factor — who was living here what they were doing.”

Secluded from the town, the lock tender lived in a home near the water, to be able to meet the boats as they arrived. Saturday, the volunteer team of excavators, led by archaeologist in the making David Babson, dug in test plots near what historians believe was either a work post or a canal shop.

Of course, it is impossible to be completely certain what the sunken square outline of rocks used to be, said Babson, a graduate student of historical archaeology at Syracuse University. “We’re always making an educated guess,” he said.

But a work site or canal shop is a good guess, based on the items the team had uncovered in the past month — mostly utilitarian items, rather than the china and home goods that would be found at a former residence, he said.

Babson watched as volunteers scraped dirt away from wheel embedded in the ground, just a few inches from the surface. They followed his instructions to slide their trowels beneath the wheel to loosen the bottom edge and to dislodge the earth packed in between the spokes, apparently stable but undoubtedly delicate, he said.

When a trowel’s touch jostled the wheel, the group that had gathered around it stood back and waited with bated breath as Babson lifted it from its shallow grave, intact — history unearthed.

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