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Kay Sterling (descendant of the General), top and Russ' mother, Eve, dig near the former kitchen site.



Jackie and I are not professional archeologists. Early on in our ownership of the General's home, however, we realized we had both a bit of a dilemma and a responsibility. Whether it was landscaping or running water or septic lines, whenever we were disturbing the earth, we were displacing artifacts. We realized very quickly that these remnants were a link to the past owners of the house, including it's most famous resident. These artifacts were every bit as important as the shadows or silhouettes, nail holes and paint or wallpaper fragments that provided clues for our interior restoration. We needed to be better stewards of what was lying below the surface of the ground at the General William Floyd House. We decided to go to school.

In August of 1989, Old Sturbridge Village was offering a Member's Field School in Historical Archeology at the James Clark Site in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Since our anniversary is August 8, I decided to give this opportunity to my wife for an anniversary gift. Hmmmm. Well, my heart was in the right place. We spent a week under the very capable direction of the Village's archeology staff and came away with a good basic knowledge of field work and laboratory skills. One of the premises of archeology that was presented and really hit home with us is that archeology, by nature of its techniques is a disruptive science. This fact, of course, makes the initial probe into the earth the most important. We vowed, then and there, only to do archeology ourselves when it was absolutely necessary i.e. when an unrelated activity like digging a dry well trench would permanently alter the integrity of the area in which the activity was taking place. When we are forced to do archeology, we committed ourselves to do the best job we were capable of and to budget an adequate amount of time for the task. The information and impressions that our digs have revealed have been entered into a log book, the artifacts cleaned, labeled and stored and the site work thoroughly documented on film.

Since 1989, we have had to do archeology in ten locations the largest of which was a site 10' by 20' bordering what was the original kitchen site. We have gained much information about the possible location of the kitchen, brick pathways through the yard, refuse disposal sites, location of possible slave quarters, location of barns and the footprint of the front steps. In the process, we have unearthed thousands of artifacts which help shed light on the every day life of the occupants. Many of these artifacts will be on display in the future at the General William Floyd Center.

General William Floyd House Signer of the Declaration of Independence
© 2006 General William Floyd House
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