The community is invited to bring items to an “Antiques Roadshow” type event hosted by SUNY Oswego senior anthropology major Nerissa Conklin from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at the Richardson-Bates House Museum in Oswego.

Whatever items of interest community members might have found doing yardwork or other tasks –- old bottles, ceramic pieces, old coins or other –- they are invited to learn more about these items and their connections with the history of Oswego.

Conklin was among the SUNY Oswego students working the summer 2022 Archaeological Field School at the Richardson-Bates House Museum under anthropology faculty member and mentor Alanna Ossa. For that project, students excavated a midden (trash heap) at the historic site to learn more about the property’s history and life in general in the 19th century.

When people learned about it, they started reaching out to Ossa “because they had found items in their yards that were similar to what we were finding in the field school,” Conklin explained. 

“They had been hoping that she would be able to identify their items and give them more information about what they were and what time period they could have been from,” Conklin said. “We quickly became interested in what kinds of data we could collect from a large-scale project involving the local community, because if these people were reaching out there definitely had to be more who had found similar items as well.”

In addition, because community archaeology has become an increasingly popular trend in the world of anthropology, “it was the perfect opportunity to try an experimental project of my own, where I would be relying on the local community to provide my data for me,” Conklin added.

Conklin said when people arrive, she will take photographs to document all the items they bring.  

“Participants will have the option to donate or loan their items to my study; however neither will be necessary for my research since I understand that many of them will have kept their items because they liked them or felt some kind of connection to them,” Conklin said “After I've documented all of the items that they bring, participants will have the opportunity to explore the 19th century, intact Victorian residence that is the Richardson-Bates House Museum.”

For Conklin, the event and capstone project build on so many lessons learned inside and outside Oswego classrooms, especially working with Ossa.

The summer field work, “combined with my archaeology and cultural resource management (CRM) classes, have prepared me to take on this project,” Conklin said. “Working closely with my advisor has also been a huge help, as she is a professional archaeologist with very extensive knowledge and a wide range of experiences that I have been fortunate enough to learn from.”

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