Mills Mansion Site
General William A. Mills House, Mount Morris, Livingston County, NY
Excavation of early 19th century features behind the Mills Mansion in Mount Morris

Location: Mount Morris, New York, United States

Season Dates: July 12, 2014 - August 17, 2014
Session Dates: Weekend dig: Saturdays and Sundays only
Application Deadline: July 10, 2014


Program Type
Field school

Affiliation: St. John Fisher College and Mount Morris Historical Society

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

Project Description

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. The Mount Morris Rotary Club purchased the house as a gift to the Mount Morris Historical Society, which restored and operates it as a museum.

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, Archaic through Transitional and Early Woodland horizons lie beneath the historical strata at this remarkable stratified site. A prehistoric hearth area has been studied, as well as extensive stone toolmaking on the site. Each season‚ the research explores both the historical and prehistoric components. The brick mansion itself serves as the base of operations for the archaeological team and houses the artifact laboratories and exhibits. Students will participate in excavation and laboratory processing of finds from all time periods, from the present back through the prehistoric. COLLEGE CREDIT: six weekends, July 12 - August 17. Project director's permission required to register. NON-CREDIT STUDENTS: $30 per day, June through October. Contact project director for details. 

Advanced archaeology students may undertake assignments in one of the following special study projects: historical middens, including ceramics & glass, food refuse & faunal analysis; prehistoric lithics assessment; prehistoric faunal analysis; Early Woodland pottery of the Northeast.

Period(s) of Occupation: Multi-Component: 1837 to present, and prehistoric Archaic through Early Woodland periods, ca. 5,000-1,500 B.P.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 15

Experience Required: None for first-time participants. 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 own meals.

Academic Credit
Name of institution offering credit: St. John Fisher College, weekends July 12 - August 17
Number of credits offered: 3-6 credits possible
Tuition: $730 per college credit

Contact Information
Justin A. Tubiolo
St. John Fisher College
Rochester, NY
Phone: (585) 671-7886

Recommended Bibliography

Hart, John P. and Charles L. Fisher, Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Domestic Site Archaeology in New York State, 2000, New York State Museum Bulletin No. 495
Sutton, Mark Q., and Brooke S. Arkush, Archaeological Laboratory Methods: An Introduction, Fourth Edition, 2006, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company


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