Archaeological Field School - Mount Morris Site

Historical and Prehistoric Archaeology at the Mills Mansion Site

Mount Morris, Livingston County, New York

Mills Mansion Site

Location: Mount Morris, Livingston County, New York

Season dates: Weekend dig, Saturday & Sundays during July to mid-August

Program Type: Field School

Students spend six weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) of excavation and artifact treatment at the early 19th century National Landmark homestead of Maj. Gen. William Augustus Mills in the Genesee Valley of Western New York. This remarkable site preserves two centuries of continuous historical occupation, beneath which lies a significant prehistoric Archaic component (ca. 5,000 B.P.) yielding evidence of extensive stone tool making. The restored 19th century mansion contains on-site labs and serves as base of operations, where team members participate in excavation and laboratory processing of artifacts from all time periods.

St. John Fisher College and Mount Morris Historical Society

Project Director
Justin A. Tubiolo, St. John Fisher College

The Mills Mansion Site, located one mile from the Genesee River in western New York, was the homestead of Major General William Augustus Mills (1777-1844), who served during the defense of the Niagara frontier in the War of 1812 and commanded the New York militia from six counties. He became a prosperous gentleman farmer and an influential figure in early 19th century Livingston County. Later in life (1838), the General built his elegant Federal style house with Greek Revival accents on Lot 1 in the Village of Mount Morris, which he founded. The restored General William A. Mills House is listed on both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is accredited through the American Association for State and Local History. It is owned and operated by the Mount Morris Historical Society.

Extensive excavations during several previous seasons revealed an array of 19th century structures and landscape features around the house, some of which have been reconstructed based upon the archaeological evidence. Recovered artifacts guide the historical society in building its collections of objects for period rooms.

Additionally, an Archaic period horizon lies beneath the historical strata in this remarkable stratified site. A prehistoric hearth area has been studied, as well as evidence of extensive stone tool making on the site. Each season’s fieldwork explores both the historic and prehistoric components. Students will participate in excavation and laboratory processing of finds from all time periods, from the present back through the prehistoric. The General’s mansion itself serves as the archaeological team’s base of operations and houses the artifact laboratories and exhibits.

Period(s) of occupation
Multi-Component: 1837 to present, and prehistoric Archaic period

Details for Students:

  • All equipment is provided.
  • Daily transportation or lodging are the student’s responsibility.
  • Students may earn 3-6 college credits.
  • Six Saturdays and Six Sundays.
  • ANTH 493-02 Archaeological Fieldwork.
  • Registration begins mid-April by calling Office of Academic Affairs (585) 385-8034. Students from colleges other than St. John Fisher must obtain instructor’s permission before registering.
  • Instructor: Justin Tubiolo,

Experience required
None. However, some previous American history or anthropology coursework would be helpful.

Room and Board arrangements
Students commute, or provide own transportation and lodging as necessary. Students provide their own meals.

Academic credit
Number of credits: 3-6 credits possible
Offered by: St. John Fisher College

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