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Virtual Archaeology Conference

February 15 , 1:00 pm 4:00 pm


Join us for the third annual Virtual Archaeology Conference! Each year, researchers and archaeologists with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum come together to share new research, developments, and discoveries from their work in Lake Champlain in this virtual summit that is open and free for all to attend.

In 2024, our team will explore big questions through the lens of our ongoing archaeological work in Arnold’s Bay such as: how do archaeologists make the call on what to conserve and what not to conserve? What happened to Benedict Arnold’s 1776 flagship, the row galley Congress, after its abandonment? What can we learn from artifacts that were excavated by past archaeologists compared to those taken for salvage or as keepsakes by people of the past? What can the hull of the Congress tell us about the construction of the colonial naval fleet on Lake Champlain and specifically row galleys?

The full schedule and list of presenters are detailed below.

This virtual conference will be presented on Zoom webinars and is free to attend. Please register in advance to receive the direct conference link by using the “Register Now” button. For accessibility requests please contact us by email at info@lcmm.org or by phone at 802-475-2022.

Virtual Archaeology Conference 2024: Presentations & Speakers

Welcome and Introduction
Chris Sabick, Executive Director, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Legacy Collection: Leege Collection Artifacts from Arnold’s Bay
Patricia Reid, Development Assistant and Collections Manager, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

In the 1960s, a group of avocational archaeologists under William Leege conducted an excavation of the starboard side of a portion of the row galley Congress. The artifact collection recovered during these excavations was donated to the Maritime Museum in 1997 and is managed by the Museum under its repository collections agreement with the United States Navy. This presentation will discuss the methodology of the 1960s excavation and its impact on our current archaeological work. It will also cover the recent reorganization process of its artifact collection conducted at the Museum in 2023.

Arnold’s Bay Artifacts: Conservation and Context
Cherilyn Gilligan, Assistant Director of Archaeology, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

In the world of archaeology, context is everything. Artifacts lose significance without details of their surrounding matrix in-situ and less can be learned overall about the past by objects separated from their archaeological context. This presentation examines the artifacts of the Arnold’s Bay Project and beyond and discusses how the context of these objects helps us to interpret the overall site. In addition to site interpretations, we will look at the conservation needs of this archaeological collection, discuss the nature of archaeological sampling, and learn about conservation processes for different types of materials.

The Excavation and Documentation of the Revolutionary War Row Galley Congress
Chris Sabick, Executive Director, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

In the fall of 2022 archaeologists from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began the exploration of the abandonment site of the flag ship of the colonial naval fleet on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Row Galley Congress. Test excavations in 2022 revealed that substantially more of the wreck was present at the site than previously suspected. Excavation and documentation of the hull remains continued through the summer of 2023 and this presentation will present the initial findings of the project and discuss the design and construction of this poorly understood vessel class.

Site Formation Processes: Defining the Theoretical Process of Archaeology for the Revolutionary Warship Congress
Paul Gates, Lab and Project Manager, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

The archaeological remains of the Revolutionary Warship Congress provide an interesting case study of the theoretical principles of Site Formation Processes in the exploration of how the vessel has changed over time since its construction as a warship to the current management of the vessel and the surrounding archaeological site. Site formation processes are defined as the “processes of human behavior that affect or transform artifacts after their initial period of use in a given activity.” This process preserves artifacts in the systemic context to create the historic record through reuse, the archaeological record through the deposition of artifacts, and any consequent cultural alterations of material in both records. This presentation will inform our audience on the history and use-life of Congress and how it fits into the overall theoretical framework of Site Formation Processes.

Live Q&A with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Archaeology Team
Patricia Reid, Cherilyn Gilligan, Chris Sabick, and Paul Gates

Zoom Webinar