SUNY Oswego’s Archaeology Field School -- the Richardson-Bates House Historic Preservation Field School -- under the direction of Oswego anthropology faculty member and archaeologist Alanna Ossa has started digging in for this class during the college's first two summer sessions. 

The project plans to excavate and document professionally a 19th- and 20th-century historic midden (trash heap) at an intact Victorian-era house, the Richardson-Bates House on Oswego's east side. The Shineman Foundation was the primary source of equipment funding with an additional generous donation from Vincent D'Ambrosio. Any materials recovered will be cleaned, analyzed and curated for the Richardson-Bates House museum -- which also is the headquarters of the Oswego County Historical Society -- to display in their permanent collection.

As an intact 19th century Victorian-era house, with a significant part of the current structure built in the 1860s and kept within the same family for almost a century, the Richardson-Bates House represents a unique piece of Oswego’s local history. The house currently retains many original furnishings and interiors and includes its associated yard. The Oswego County Historical Society owns the house after its donation by the original family and operates it as a museum to showcase the history of the era in the context of greater Oswego.

Currently, 11 Oswego undergraduate students and one undergraduate research assistant (funded by Oswego's Scholarly and Creative Activity grants) will focus on both historic preservation and professional training in archaeological survey, excavation, artifact analysis and curation as the team excavates on the grounds of this historic house. Early excavations so far have uncovered historic ceramics, a hopeful sign that they are digging in the likely trash midden of the house.