Helderberg Christian School unearths the past to educate the present

— Photo from Mike Collins

Making discoveries: Archeologist Robert Dean digs outside the Helderberg Christian School in East Berne as students examine long-buried treasures.

To the Editor:

On Friday, Sept. 22, the Helderberg Christian School had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Robert Dean, archaeologist with the New York State Education Department’s Cultural Resource Survey Program.

Students in grades five through 12 learned how an archaeologist performs his work and the importance of preserving, interpreting, and sharing the past for today and our future.

One test site was dug on the school campus, formerly St. John’s Lutheran Church. A discussion was led concerning what may be found based on survey maps of the area during the 1800s.

Students dug approximately two feet deep, taking turns sifting the site, evaluating materials found manmade or natural, and cataloguing discoveries. Unearthed was a shard of pottery from the mid-1700s, three other separate and distinct patterns of pottery, chunks of hand-formed brick and pieces of slate, indicative of period roofing as well as countless other treasures.

A question remains for the future; we discovered a barrel that had been filled with cement in two locations of the foundation. The boards have gone, but the concrete is left holding clues. Students have formed multiple hypotheses as to the purpose of the concrete-filled barrels.

All artifacts will remain on site at Helderberg Christian School.

Mike Collins


Helderberg Christian School

East Berne

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