Walnut Grove Archaeology Project


At Fenton History Center


Dig days take place every Tuesday and Wednesday on the grounds of the Fenton History Center.  In certain cases, the team may also meet on Saturdays.  Days that are not spent digging will be spent washing and cataloging artifacts.

Archaeological excavation will continue to take place in an area where an early structure associated with the mansion once stood.  This area is located under the pine trees near the steamboat propeller. 

Determining the specific size and use of this structure is one of the primary objectives of the 2017 dig.  The team will also be investigating the location of the preexisting carriage house and the mansion's west side house addition. *See corresponding photographs below.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:  Due to the confined space and small scale of the project, the number of participants is limited.  If you are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and would like to join us call the Fenton History Center at (716) 664-6256 to express your interest.

For more information check out the link to our  2017 participant brochure .


Course Instructor Dr. Douglas Perrelli and Project Coordinator Ryan Francis Austin, Ph. D., RPA were at the Fenton History Center on June 28, 2017 with graduate student: Joe Prego; and undergraduate students: Christopher Cerbini, Amy Davidson, Daphine Limner, Nicholas Olson, Adam Ptak, Francine Selby, Isabella Towne, and John Wastelewski from the University of Buffalo Anthropology Field School in Buffalo, New York.

After attending a detailed overview given by Dr. Thomas Greer, the students headed outside to explore the dig site and started becoming familiar with the site. Both Dr. Thomas Greer and Dr. Douglas Perrelli both look forward to collaboration on the project.

Perrelli said that he could not be happier that his students have been given the opportunity to assist. Archaeological excavation on the grounds of the Fenton History Center has entered its 6th year.

*Please continue to check this section of the website as the dig progresses for periodic updates. 


You are cordially invited to join us for September's Brown Bag Lunchtime Talk: Walnut Grove Archaeology Project Year 6 By Dr. Thomas Greer that is to take place on September 13 from 12 PM to 1 PM.

Food and drink is permitted. See this year's full line-up of Brown Bag Lunchtime Talks in 2017 here: https://www.fentonhistorycenter.org/category/events/brown-bag-lunchtime-talks/ 

View various photographs pertaining to the Fenton History Center's Walnut Grove Archaeology Project: 


An 1866 photograph where you can see the cupola of the building we believe we are excavating peeking out from behind the mansion.



The building we believe we are excavating on hand painted birds-eye maps from 1871 and 1882.


1902 MAP
This is a 1902 map depicting the mansion and other structures on the property at that time. The building we are excavating is no longer present and the green house appears in its place.


google map with previous buildings superimposed
Current Google map depicting the mansion and other structures on the property at the time the family lived there. The building we are excavating is no longer present and the greenhouse appears in its place.


2015 2
A small sample of the bottles that were found intact during the 2016  excavation.


An overall look at the excavation site.


Dr. Greer and a volunteer hard at work at the dig.
Dr. Greer and a volunteer hard at work at the dig.