BU’s Archaeology Facility examines old Woodstock grounds


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival, Binghamton University is highlighting some of the work it did to research the iconic event.

BU’s Public Archaeology Facility was hired by The Museum at Bethel Woods to analyze the grounds where the original festival took place. In October 2017, it examines the wooded hillside where the Bindy Bazaar was set up. The bazaar was a temporary marketplace and gathering space where about 24 vendors set up makeshift booths made of canvas and wood. BU’s team of archaeologists was able to mark out the locations of the booths so that the museum could develop a walking trail with signage explaining the marketplace. Project Director Maria O’Donovan says archaeology doesn’t only concern itself with centuries-old digs.

O’Donovan says, “We can use our archaeological methods, our ability to look at material and look at what people leave behind in their daily lives, to bring this into focus on contemporary problems such as migration, refugees, human and environmental interactions

Last June, the BU researchers were brought back to do some excavations to help determine the layout of the original main stage and audience area. They were able to find post holes that determined an old fence line. O’Donovan says their digging mostly only turned up a bunch of aluminum can pull-tabs. She says the site was well cleaned up of litter following the festival, which is not necessarily a good thing for archaeologists.

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