Why Archaeologists Are Sifting Through a Field Near Woodstock, N.Y.

Jun 21, 2018  •  Post A Comment

Archaeologists have been busy working on a grassy hillside in Bethel, N.Y., that was the site of the seminal Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in 1969. The AP reports that the five-day excavation didn’t turn up much in the way of meaningful artifacts, but that wasn’t the point.

“The main mission of Binghamton University’s Public Archaeology Facility was to help map out more exactly where the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker wowed the crowds 49 years ago,” the AP reports.

The report quotes project director Josh Anderson saying: “The overall point of this investigation is to kind of define the stage space.” Pointing out a hole that was apparently used for a fence keeping the fans away from the stage area, he adds: “We can use this as a reference point. People can stand on that and look up at the hill and say, ‘Oh, this is where the performers were. Jimi Hendrix stood here and played his guitar at 8:30 in the morning.’”

It’s the first official excavation of the site, which is already on the National Register of Historic Places. “The hillside has been preserved since the late ’90s by a not-for-profit that runs an adjacent ’60s-themed museum (complete with a psychedelic bus),” the AP notes.

Wade Lawrence, director of The Museum at Bethel Woods, noted that the archaeologists’ work will help the museum set up interpretive walking routes in time for the concert’s 50th anniversary next year.

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