Schoolteachers to help on archeological dig

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(Host) In a couple of years, Vermont, New York and Quebec will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of Lake Champlain’s discovery by Europeans.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation is preparing for the celebration by digging into some of the region’s history. And schoolteachers are being asked to help.

King Louis the Fifteenth granted land between what is now Panton and Bridport to his representatives in the New World in 1743. It was a bid to encourage settlement around the French fort at Chimney Point and adjacent Crown Point in what’s now New York.

Archaeologists hope to rediscover some tidbits of the past when they begin excavating the site this summer. Elsa Gilbertson is a state regional historic site administrator who is heading the project.

(Gilbertson) “There’s just so many layers of history here and a lot of people don’t really know or understand that there was French settlement here long before the Revolutionary War.”

(Host) Experts from the University of Maine’s Archaeology Research Center will be in charge of the excavation.

But Vermont schoolteachers are being recruited to help with the dig.

They’ll make maps and take photographs at the site at the DAR State Park.

Gilbertson says organizers hope that the teachers and the professionals will find some evidence of how the area was settled in the middle of the 18th century.

(Gilbertson) “Some of these French settlement sites have probably been picked over over the years, but there’s never been a thorough archaeological investigation of them before. So we certainly hope we’ll find remnants of everyday life.”

(Host) The state hopes teachers at the project will include some of this Lake Champlain basin history in their classes.

And Gilbertson says there’s plenty of history in the area of Chimney Point. The French and later English settlements are pretty recent additions to life along that stretch of lakeshore. She says Abenaki and Iroquois Indians can count almost 500 generations’ use of the area.

(Host) There are still openings for more teachers to volunteer. The three weeks of excavation begin July 16th.

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