Site History

The Canadarago Lake I site was identified by PAF during an addendum reconnaissance survey for PIN 9805.41.101, a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) project. The testing yielded 243 precontact material culture: 145 non-cortical flakes, 54 cortical flakes, 41 pieces of chunk/shatter, 1 scraper, 1 biface, and 1 core fragment from 19 positive shovel test pits. Material culture distributions indicated two dense clusters of cultural material: one large cluster on the south side of a creek and a smaller cluster to the north of the creek. Most material was recovered from the A horizon between 0 and 36 cm (0 and 14 in) below the ground surface with a small amount identified at the interface with the B horizon subsoil. Some cultural material extended into the upper parts of the B horizon, but no deeper than 38 cm (15 in) below ground surface. 

 A Phase 2 site examination was completed in July 2009, with PAF archaeologists excavating 14 1 x 1 m (3.3 x 3.3 ft) units placed at 5 m (16.4 ft) intervals across the two site clusters. The test units produced 6,018 precontact material culture from two A horizons (A1 and A2) that were capped by historic sedimentation. The material culture included 4,577 flakes, 753 chunk/shatter, 35 cores, 28 projectile points, 19 bifaces, 3 scrapers, 2 retouched pieces, 1 chert chopper, 6 pottery sherds, 584 fire-cracked rocks (FCR), and 3 pitted stones. Based on the temporal affiliation of the projectile points and pottery, two components were identified. The first had six projectile points and pottery dating from AD 600-1550. The Levanna projectile point signals a Late Woodland period of site use. However, the Levanna type does briefly overlap with the Jack’s Reef Pentagonal projectile point and Jack’s Reef Corded pottery, both of which occur at the site, signaling site use during the Middle Woodland period. A second component was defined by six projectile points: three Orient Fishtail and three Dry Brook. These point types are diagnostic of the Transitional period (900-200 BC). Based on the results of the site examination the Canadarago Lake I site was recommended as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and a Phase 3 data recovery mitigation was recommended if the site could not be avoided by NYSDOT.

 PAF conducted a Phase 3 data recovery between June 16 and July 18, 2014. The Phase 3 work plan for the Canadarago Lake I site outlined an excavation strategy that would retrieve the largest sample of data within the project boundaries. The first stage of the field strategy was the excavation of a “block sample” of 1 x 1 m (3.3 x 3.3 ft) test units centered on areas of greatest productivity during the Phase 2 site examination. A second stage involved excavation of a  “judgmental sample” of units to further explore sub-surface cultural features or high concentrations of material culture. 

Archaeologists excavated 29 1 x 1 m units and one 0.5 x 1 m (1.6-3.3. ft) unit at the site and recovered cultural material in stratified soil deposits dating to the Late Archaic, Transitional, Early Woodland, and Late Woodland periods.