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Saratoga National Historical Park partners with veterans to reveal site history

American Veteran Archaeology Recovery promotes the well-being of disabled veterans transitioning to civilian life through field archaeology. (Photo/Reuvan Kastro)

American Veteran Archaeology Recovery promotes the well-being of disabled veterans transitioning to civilian life through field archaeology. (Photo/Reuvan Kastro)

STILLWATER, NY — Saratoga National Historical Park recently announced a partnership with the American Battlefield Trust and American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) to bring veterans together and utilize their unique skillsets to reveal buried secrets of American Revolutionary War history.

Together, the nonprofit and National Park Service (NPS) will undertake an archaeological survey of the Barber Wheatfield, a historic site associated with the 1777 Saratoga battlefield, set for late Spring 2019.

The project is partially funded by a grant from the American Battlefield Trust and will consist of two phases; first will be a metal detector survey and limited excavation, followed by artifact cataloging and documentation. Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam veterans will participate under the guidance of experts from Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) and NPS archaeologists — a special agreement between NPS, AVAR, and the Trust ensures use of modern preservation methods and makes the project possible.

“Saratoga National Historical Park is honored to host the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery,” said Amy Bracewell, Superintendent of Saratoga NHP. “This project will give us a better understanding of the battle and events that unfolded at Saratoga. Connecting modern veterans to this sacred battlefield and getting their help with this archeological study brings our nation’s history full circle and emphasizes the importance of this project.”

The project’s goal is to investigate the artifact patterning in the second battle of Saratoga — a turning point in America’s fight for independence — while providing veterans with lifelong support systems, transferable skills, a therapeutic outlet and an opportunity to participate in something larger than themselves. AVAR projects build a community for participants and help bridge the divide between military service and civilian life by giving veterans high-level training and a sense of belonging. Archaeology projects like the Saratoga survey allow veterans to see how their contributions make a difference to a mission that matters; the results of this work has the potential to change our understanding of history, a parallel to missions performed while serving.

AVAR’s work can also provide important historical insights. The project’s site, Barber Wheatfield, was host to the second battle of Saratoga and the veterans’ findings could help clarify the events that occurred as American and British forces clashed on the battlefield. While this project is integral in the analysis of the archeological record at Saratoga, the work is also invaluable to the wellbeing of our nation’s veterans and the preservation of our history.

Information provided by NPS

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