Archaeologists digging up War of 1812 history on Horse Island

WWNY Archaeologists digging up War of 1812 history on Horse Island

HORSE ISLAND, N.Y. (WWNY) - Researchers from Binghamton University came back to the north country this week as they search for remnants of the Battle of Sackets Harbor.

Archaeologists are using screens to sift through dirt on Horse Island. The work is a part of a New York state grant from the American Battlefield Trust to look into the history of the island and its importance during the Battle of Sackets Harbor in 1813.

Brian Grills is the project director and he says their work is helping to paint a better picture.

“When we start to identify artifacts from the battle and we start to be able to pull those pieces together and understand what we are looking at, that’s a big relief,” he said.

A big relief because a public island like Horse Island sometimes gets too much traffic from so-called treasure hunters who disturb the historical area.

Joshua Anderson, a field director on the team, says preserving a landmark like Horse Island is important.

“Come, look, take pictures. But if people could just really leave the history there so other people can experience it, that’s a very important lesson for people to know,” he said.

Grills says he and his team are grateful for the opportunity to come out there and investigate, but this is only the first stage in the process of uncovering the history of the island.

“What we will produce is a report to understand and try to fill in some of the blanks that are happening there. So part of that will be too reach out to the community and stakeholders and descendants that still live in the area,” he said.

Once their report is finished, they will submit it to New York state, which will determine if the project gets more funding.

Grills says if the state decides to continue with more research, he would love to come back again in the future because the archaeologists say there is more to discover.

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