Friday, July 14, 2017



Donald A. Windsor

Prior to 1791 an old Indian trail went between what is now White Store (Town of Norwich) and Rockdale (Town of Guilford), a straight-line distance of 7.2 miles. Part of the route appears in a map in the recent book by Tom Gray. In 2006 Tom and I walked the part of this trail from Gonza Road, off of County Road 37, south to Fred Utter Road. This section lies at elevations between 1400 and 1700 feet. White Store is 4.4 straight-line miles southeast from the White Site and Rockdale is 11.0 miles.

Unfortunately, this trail is almost entirely on private property. No archaeological sites along this trail are mentioned by Ted Whitney.

However, Mert Brownell (1896-1976) mentions posthumously in 1977 that he found artifacts along this trail.

The only Indian trail marked on the 1789 survey map of the Twenty Towns is the “Iroquois Trail”, which ran between what are today Polkville and White Store. County Road 33 + White Store Road approximate this trail.

Brownell says that an Indian trail followed White Store Brook. This trail would be approximately where County Road 34 is today. The White Store Brook flows from near the White Site and the Johnson Creek flows through the White Site and through Polkville.

All of these connections lead me to see a wide swath of potential archaeological sites in the towns of Guilford and Norwich. However, our Chapter spent the summer of 2006 digging at the Lasky Site on a hill west of the White Store Brook and north of Burdick-Medbury Road and found nothing.

I intend to find more of Brownell’s writings and see what he says.

References cited:

Brownell, Mert. Indians of the Valley. In: Unadilla Valley. White Store to East Guilford 1788-1976. [Location not disclosed.]: Unadilla Valley Historical Society. 1976. Pages 1-5.
Brownell, Mert. [Indians] Glimpses of the Past (Newsletter of the Unadilla Valley Historical Society) 1977 February 16: 1, 13, + [Next issue]: 7-8.
DeAngelo, Gordon ; DeAngelo, Barbara. Two plant studies: the Lasky/Scott Site and the Cameron Site. [Bulletin of the] Chenango Chapter NYSAA 2012 September; 33(1): 31-63.
Gray, Thomas A. Living Near The River. A Detailed History of the River Hamlets of Guilford, NY. Guilford, NY: Self-published. 2017. 178 pages.
McElligott, Corey C. ; McElligott, Darren C. ; McElligott, Patrick R. Water Man. A Native People’s History of the North East. [Guilford, NY]: Waterfalls Press. 2011. [Unpaged. 354 pages.]
Whitney, Theodore [“Ted”] The Indian occupations of Chenango County to 1975. [Bulletin of the] Chenango Chapter NYSAA [New York State Archaeological Association] 1974 November; 15(3): 1-33.


Thursday, May 18, 2017



Walter Cukierski

   Here are some of the better artifacts that we have found this spring by means of either sifting 
or metal detecting. I think we are getting a better feel of the site and identifying key spots to search. 

   We are in the process of trying to pinpoint areas of interest thanks to the GPR (Ground Penetrating 
Radar) data that the USDA gave us. This season is shaping up to be an exciting one.

   I hope everyone has a chance to come out an experience this with us. 


Friday, May 12, 2017



Robert P. Mason

Here are some pictures of the Sheldon site disappearing into the Chenango River. I think the spot we were actually working in is the section that is gone.  Before, the river was a good 20 feet away or more.

I will probably be going back there next week, after the rain we are supposed to be getting.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017



Donald A. Windsor and A. Gail Merian

We found a hill that we suspect is where the Indian Castle (alias Canasawacta Castle) was located. It is along the eastern bank of the Chenango River in the Town of Norwich, south of the City. We followed the Surveyor’s notes from the Survey of the Twenty Townships 1788-89. The photo below shows Gail pointing to an eroded patch on the hill.

The hill is about 35 feet above the water, which was high when we were there on 28 April 2017. The photo below shows a closer view of the hill.

 The photo below shows the river bottom rubble just downstream. Most of the other banks in this area are alluvial soil. 

 The rest of the area is much lower and flatter. It seems to be overgrown with woody trees and shrubs. The photo below shows Gail pointing to this shrubby area.

The Castle site is private property. We were not on the site and artifacts purported to be from the Castle may not be, because the exact locations where they were found are not recorded. Nevertheless, the hill we report here seems like a good place to dig a test pit, should we ever get permission from the landowner.

This site was seen by the surveyor 229 years ago. Rivers meander and change course. The topographic map for this area was printed in 1943 and has contour lines 20 feet apart. The elevation of this hill is about 1020+ feet. A meandering river has a cliff side and a beach side. The Castle hill is on the cliff side on a right angle turn, so the river has been washing it away. Perhaps much of it has already been removed. We were standing on the beach side on mud. A former river channel was behind, west of, us. The original Castle hill could have been where the river channel is now. The 1903 topographic map shows a much smoother curve for the river.

We intend to revisit this site in summer when the river is at its lowest water levels. 


Monday, January 16, 2017



The Golden Trowel Award is presented to a Chenango Chapter member who has become a highly skilled archaeological digger.

At our Chapter meeting on Saturday afternoon, 14 January 2017, our distinguished dean of dedicated diggers, Monte Bennett, presented the highly coveted Golden Trowel Award to chapter President David Moyer.

Photo by Deborah DeForest.