Digging up history in Potsdam

wwny Digging up history in Potsdam

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Discoveries are made a shovel at a time. Sometimes less. Most of the SUNY Potsdam students are doing this for the first time.

“I like it just as much as I thought I would. It’s a lot of fun. Patience, but it’s a lot fun,” said Justin Leftwich, SUNY Potsdam archaeology major.

They are hunting for artifacts of Camp Union. As many as 1,000 men went through basic training there during the Civil War. All at once, in just five months, in winter.

“I like to try to put myself in their shoes sometime if I’m doing this. And see … because it’s quite spectacular I think,” said Leftwich.

So far, the finds are modest. Horseshoe nails. Cut nails for building. The top of a glass bottle from the era. But they’ve just scratched the surface.

“The closest thing we have to time travel is to actually go and handle material that hasn’t been touched in hundreds and maybe thousands of years,” said Hadley Kruczek-Aaron, SUNY Potsdam professor of anthropology.

The Postdam Museum approached SUNY Potsdam about doing the dig. The site is right behind the busy Market Street corridor. Future development could snuff out chances to explore there.

“It’s a big difference between learning about this from a book … doing it is really eye opening,” said Kruczek-Aaron.

There will be an open house in the Potsdam field on Saturday. You can even watch some of the students work maybe see a discovery made.

That open house will run 9:30 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. And it’s right near downtown, where Potsdam’s 2019 Summer Festival will be in full swing.

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