View of Arnold's Bay on Lake Champlain on a sunny, fall day

Watch the Archaeology Conference: Arnold’s Bay Research Project

On February 17, 2022, the Research and Archaeology team at the Museum was thrilled to welcome a few hundred people at our first-ever virtual Archaeology Conference. Our team, funded by an American Battlefield Protection Program grant offered by the National Park Service, started work at the Revolutionary War site at Arnold’s Bay in Panton, VT last summer. This conference was a fantastic opportunity to share some of their newest work with the public. Click here to scroll down and watch the full recording of the conference below.

Why is Arnold’s Bay important?

Arnold’s Bay is an important but little-known archeological site in Vermont’s history, and is located right next door to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. On October 11, 1776, the Battle of Valcour Bay (near Plattsburgh, NY) ended in a complicated way for the American forces, who were low on firepower and had sustained heavy damage from the British. They retreated and fled south, fighting a running battle on October 12 and losing two gunboats in the process. In the early morning hours of October 13, commanding officer Benedict Arnold brought his remaining vessels into the shallow waters of what is now known as Arnold’s Bay and set them on fire, opting to destroy his fleet rather than let it be taken captive, and leaving a wealth of archaeological evidence at the bottom of the bay.

What kind of work are we doing?

While archaeological excavations have been conducted at Arnold’s Bay before, the Museum’s ongoing work there is the first comprehensive study of both the underwater and terrestrial parts of the site. We are using metal detectors to find the remaining evidence of the battle. In collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans Indians and the Association of Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA), this past summer and fall we have conducted terrestrial and underwater surveys of the site, held trainings, and explored initial findings.

What’s featured in the conference?

Watch the full conference recording to see presentations from multiple experts in the field who have an active part in the ongoing work at Arnold’s Bay.

  • Chris Sabick, our own Director of Research and Archaeology, provided an overview of the Battle of Valcour Bay and the Arnold’s Bay site.
  • Edwin Scollon, a Research Associate and longtime friend of the Museum, provided insight into the complicated process of underwater archaeology, both at Arnold’s Bay and on other archaeological sites within the lake.
  • Joel Bohy, a representative of AMDA who led an October 2021 metal detecting course at Arnold’s Bay, shared  his knowledge of metal-detecting, battlefield archaeology, and the important work that AMDA does with archaeologists around the world.
  • Nathan Allison, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, who also participated in the AMDA course in October, offered invaluable information about the important role that Stockbridge Munsee people played in the Battle of Valcour Bay.
  • Cherilyn Gilligan, our Assistant Director of Archaeology here at the Museum, closed out the conference with an overview of the various artifacts discovered so far at Arnold’s Bay, as well as those already in the Museum’s collection related to the site. Analysis of these materials is just beginning, and we are looking forward to continuing excavations at the site in 2022.

Watch here!

This conference was a great opportunity to share our exciting research with the public. Thank you to everyone who came and thank you for your insightful and thought-provoking questions. We encourage everyone to check out the recording of the conference and look forward to sharing more with you as we continue research at Arnold’s Bay in 2022!