Letters: Protect Native American History

In 1997, the Public Archaeology Facility of Binghamton University completed an archaeological survey for a NYS DOT road widening project along Route 13. During that survey, a prehistoric site (the Plus Site) was identified to the north of Route 13, east of Johnson Road and west of Willow Glen Cemetery.

The discovery of the Plus Site was instrumental in the understanding of Iroquoian movement and the use of temporary, upland camps. These camps were utilized primarily for obtaining food and preparing it for the journey back to the village. Further, this upland camp is the first and only one to be documented here in Dryden – quite possibly in this region of New York! Very few upland camps have been found in New York state itself, and none studied as closely as our own Plus Site, which has been dated to the time period A.D. 1350-1400. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation determined that the Plus Site was eligible for the National Register.

It is highly likely that the camp extended far more than the small parcel which was excavated and documented prior to the road widening. According to the state Historic Preservation’s online estimation of archaeologically sensitive areas, any area within one mile radius of the Plus Site would be considered likely to contain a similar archaeological site.

Making sure if there is further archaeological evidence is paramount so that any part of the site containing archaeological artifacts and evidence is properly excavated, documented, and recorded prior to the disturbance of the earth for ANY activity.

The Plus Site is a significant part of Native American Iroquoian history, and it is our duty to protect the history that is there. This doesn’t mean that any developing cannot be conducted on the lands. What it DOES mean is that a professional, archaeological survey be conducted where the ground is to be disturbed and if any artifacts and/or remains are found, that they are carefully documented and removed by an Archaeological Facility for further investigation and reporting so that it’s history is preserved for generations to come. While it is always important to be forward thinking, we should not blatantly ignore the past.

Please contact your County Representatives and your local Town Board and let them know that Native American culture is important and needs to be respected.
Bonnie L. Scutt 

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