LAKE GEORGE - For the first time since 2000, SUNY Adirondack students will join others in an archeological dig at Fort William Henry in Lake George Village.
The community college will host an Archeology Field School at the Fort from July 11 through August 19. The dig will be supervised by Dr. David Starbuck of Chestertown, who has extensive experience in excavating military sites of the 18th century.
The return to Fort William Henry will mark a new phase of research and public education which will focus upon the dumps east of the Fort, the remains of barracks buildings, and the prehistoric campsites that lie beneath the ruins of the French and Indian War fortress, Starbuck said this week.
"To come back to the Fort is very exciting," he said. "This is one of the most important and memorable sites in the French and Indian War, and its a privilege to dig there."
Field schools from SUNY Adirondack first excavated at Fort William Henry between 1997 and 2000 and discovered burned log walls, military dumps, and Native American features both inside and outside the reconstructed fort. The site revealed a wealth of information about the daily lives of soldiers and officers, as well as the native peoples who preceded them.
Construction of the timber fort began in 1755, marking the northernmost outpost of the British advance into the interior of North America. Fort William Henry was garrisoned by about 2,000 British Regulars, provincial soldiers and civilians, and the fort came under siege by the French in August of 1757. After the surrender of the fort's garrison, the massacre that followed was one of the most famous events from the war that is still widely remembered today.
The fort was the scene for much of the action in James Fenimore Cooper's novel Last of the Mohicans, and has become a popular tourist attraction.
Starbuck has supervised digs at Fort William Henry, Fort George and Fort Edward, and students have unearthed artifacts that military historians and archeologists have characterized as important in depicting life in the 1700s.
Two-week sessions of three credits each are being offered, and students may take a maximum of six credits. Classes will meet at Fort William Henry from July 11 through 22, July 25 through Aug. 5, and Aug. 8 through 19. Tuition for New York state residents is $142 per credit hour. Tuition for out-of-state residents is $284 per credit hour.
For details, call SUNY Adirondack at 743-2258.