BETHEL, NY (June 8, 2018) – In a multi-day activity that invites public participation, a team of archaeologists from the Public Archaeology Facility at Binghamton University will commence an archaeological exploration, excavation and discovery on the historic Woodstock festival site at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY during the week of June 11. The team will set up operations on the 1969 concert field and begin a series of micro-excavations to establish with the greatest precision possible the location of the stage, sound and light towers and other features on the field.
After a set-up period, archaeologists will be on the field 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, June 13 to 14, and Monday through Thursday, June 18 to 21. Bethel Woods and the archaeology team invite the public to assist with screening the soil and making an inventory of the artifacts. The field is located at Hurd and West Shore Roads in Bethel, just north of The Museum at Bethel Woods.
Using preliminary locations from computer-assisted design maps, the archaeologists will seek out soil disturbances, discoloration and other evidence to pinpoint the outline of the main stage, stage fencing, performers footbridge and towers.
The team will flag the locations and, working with cultural landscape historians, Bethel Woods will then be able to apply for funding for a more permanent and appropriate marking of where the features were sited. Once marked, the features will more readily be incorporated into tours of the historic grounds which are now given by volunteer docents associated with The Museum.
“As stewards of this highly significant historic site, it is our responsibility to have the most accurate information possible,” said Wade Lawrence, director of The Museum and the overall project manager for preservation activities at the historic site. “It is exciting to have these archaeologists from Binghamton University on site to help us determine with certainty, where the stage was, and where the towers were so that we can make that part of the stories we tell visitors.” Some of the work at the site is underway in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival which will be commemorated in 2019. The Woodstock festival site, including the 37-acre concert field, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. A cultural landscape report completed in 2015 recommended more than 20 preservation and interpretation activities at the site. The marking of the stage and other features was one of them.
This project has been funded by donors to Bethel Woods for the preservation of the historic Woodstock site and by an EPF grant administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, as well as funding from the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation, the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Sullivan County Plans & Progress Small Grants Program.
To learn more visit bethelwoodscenter.org.
About Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts inspires, educates, and empowers individuals through the arts and humanities by presenting a diverse selection of culturally-rich performances, popular artists, and community and educational programming. Located 90 miles from New York City at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY, the lush 800-acre campus includes a Pavilion Stage amphitheater with seating for 15,000, an intimate 440-seat indoor Event Gallery, the award-winning Museum at Bethel Woods, and a Conservatory for arts education programming.
Through the in-depth study and exhibition of the social, political, and cultural events of the 1960s, as well as the preservation of the historic site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Bethel Woods educates individuals about the issues and lessons of the decade while inspiring a new generation to contribute positively to the world around them. The not-for-profit organization relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations to develop and sustain programs that improve the quality of life in the region and beyond.
For more information please visit www.BethelWoodsCenter.org.