Mills Mansion Site

Location: Mount Morris, New York, United States

July 9, 2016 to August 14, 2016

Session dates: 
Weekend dig: Saturdays and Sundays only

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, July 7, 2016

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school



St. John Fisher College

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 State, 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 later 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 Mount Morris Rotary Club purchased the house 1976 as a gift to the Mount Morris Historical Society, which restored and operates it as a museum. The 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.

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, native 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 houses the artifact laboratories and exhibits. Students participate in excavation and laboratory processing of finds from all time periods, from the present back through the prehistoric. Students also gain some insight into small museum operations, and interact with the public while answering questions from visitors and tourists. COLLEGE CREDIT: six weekends, July 9 - August 14. 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; computerized virtual reconstruction of former buildings and site alterations through time; prehistoric lithics assessment; prehistoric faunal analysis; Early Woodland pottery of the Northeast.

Period(s) of Occupation: Multi-Component: historical period 1790s to present; and prehistoric Archaic through Early Woodland periods, approximately 1,500-5,000 years old.

Weekend dig in Western New York State. College credit archaeological field school. Excavation and concurrent laboratory work. Non-credit participation with a daily fee. Boy Scout Archaeology Merit Badge may be earned. Individual and group tours are available.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum age: 

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 9 - August 14
Number of credits offered 3-6 credits possible
$830 per college credit


Contact Information
Justin A. Tubiolo
St. John Fisher College
(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