Artifacts found at Cutchogue Village Green site unveiled

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | A piece of a salt glazed stoneware dating back to the 1890s, center, a spoon and a pair of horseshoes were discovered earlier this year at the Village Green in Cutchogue.

A piece of a salt glazed stoneware dating back to the 1890s was featured on Sunday afternoon along with other archaeological artifacts found during an excavation done earlier this year at the Village Green in Cutchogue.

Jo-Ann McLean, a registered archaeologist from Flanders who was hired to monitor the excavation when the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council started construction of a two-car garage on the Village Green, said the broken crock was the oldest artifact found.

“That’s as old as we got,” Ms. McLean said to a group of 30 people at the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library. “We only went 36 inches deep, because that’s how deep you needed to go to build the garage’s foundation.”

The council brought in Ms. McLean in March to sift through the soil when it started construction at the site to house a 1926 Model A truck donated by Parker Wickham of Mattituck.

Ms. McLean said while the land is an archaeological site that could have artifacts dating to prehistoric times, she believes the property should be left undisturbed.

“Unless you’re planning more construction, or if you have a lot of money, it’s best to leave the site alone,” Ms. McLean said, explaining that future technologies could possibly examine the site more thoroughly.

Ms. McLean said studying the property was difficult because she had been told a stream that used to flow on the property had been filled in. But when she came across clam and scallop shells, she believed she found where the stream used to be.

“It looks like someone had a picnic and dumped their garbage into the stream,” she said.

In addition to the crock, many items from the early 20th century were found, including horseshoes, car parts, nails, handmade bricks, spoons and jars for olives, pickles and cold cream.

As the discussion wrapped up, a Cutchogue man who declined to give his name whipped out a large, stone-fired jug.

“I found this in my backyard,” he said, pulling several small glass bottles out of his jacket that he said he found on his property.

“We didn’t find anything that beautiful,” Ms. McLean said.

As the crowd turned their attention to the man’s artifacts he said he found in the ground at his home on Skunk Lane, Ms. McLean stressed that he take careful records and document the locations of where he has been digging.

Zach Studenroth, director of the council, said while he hasn’t come across many people digging in their backyards in search of artifacts, he agreed keeping accurate records of the process is crucial.

“If there’s no record, then there’s no historical meaning,” he said.

Within the next year, the council aims to create an exhibit in the newly constructed garage showcasing the artifacts, as well as another exhibit featuring information about early farming trucks.

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