Topic ID #32604 - posted 5/9/2014 4:31 PM

Volunteer at the Allegheny Valley Project


The Allegheny Valley Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate in scientific discovery. No experience is necessary, as new volunteers are teamed up with seasoned volunteers for hands-on learning. Volunteer opportunities range from excavation to lab processing to paperwork. Participants under the age of 14 need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. We welcome local volunteers, and those from anywhere around the world. There is no charge to participate, but potential costs for volunteers include: 1) travel to and from the site, located in Allegany, New York; 2) meals; 3) lodging expenses; 4) admission fees at field trip locations.

This year we will be investigating gradiometer anomalies at the Bockmier 1 Site, on the north bank of the Allegheny River, adjacent to the Bockmier Point Site. Bockmier Point had a single Pre-contact component, which means that cultural material was deposited there during a single occupation, probably lasting fewer than 20 years. Radiocarbon dating places the occupation between 1200 and 1250 AD. Bockmier 1 appears to be a continuation of the Allegheny Iroquois village at Bockmier Point, but also contains components from other time periods. Artifacts recovered during preliminary surface surveys suggest the site was occupied from the Middle Archaic (around 6,000 years ago) through the early Late Woodland (around the time of Bockmier Point).

Extensive gradiometer testing at Bockmier 1 revealed several anomalies, both large and small, dotting much of the site. We will be testing the different types of signatures each anomaly presents to get an idea of the types of features the anomalies represent. Once potential storage pits and earth ovens are identified, we will sample these to retrieve data that will allow us to discern what types of plants and animals were consumed at the site, and what time period each feature was deposited. We will also be actively searching for postmolds, which will allow us to characterize any settlement patterns evident at the site.

Data collected during the preliminary surveys will be combined with the data from this field season to compare the different time periods involved. We would like to know what changes in subsistence and settlement practices occurred locally over time. For example, we know that maize (corn) appeared in the Late Woodland period, but what did it replace locally? Did the Allegheny Valley Iroquois abandon any food items that were used by earlier populations? We have evidence that the Allegheny Valley Iroquois lived at the site year-round. What seasons were people there in prior periods? These and many other questions may be addressed by the data we will collect in Field Season 2014.


Bockmier 1 is located in an agricultural field along the Allegheny River in the scenic Allegheny Plateau region of southwestern New York. There is a short (1/5 mile) hike from parking to the site. We can provide a shuttle for anyone who is unable to hike to the site. Wildlife is abundant, and the region is mostly forested. Summers in this region are generally mild, but can be humid or rainy.

For more information, email, visit, and like us on Facebook (The Allegheny Valley Project).


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