The Great Warpath: British Military Sites from Albany to Crown Point

Article excerpt

The Great Warpath: British Military Sites from Albany to Crown Point. David R. Starbuck. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999.

The Great Warpath was the water route followed by the French and their Algonquin allies from Montreal into the heart of the American colonies during the colonial wars of 1689-1763 and by the British invasion of the United States during the American Revolution in 1777. Many famous and bloody battles took place in this corridor, which comprised Lake Champlain, Lake George, and the Hudson River Valley. It was home to the largest and most important British strongholds as well as the site of the most brutal and memorable battles during the colonial period. Due to its long occupation and frequent battles, the Warpath is a treasure trove of historically significant sites and archeological relics.

The recovery of these archaeological treasures is the subject of David Starbuck's The Great Warpath. Starbuck's book is a professional memoir of his archaeological adventures in the Hudson Valley since 1985. Concentrating exclusively on military sites, Starbuck describes digs at the Saratoga Battlefield, Fort Edward and Rogers Island, Fort William Henry, Fort George, Mount Independence, Crown Point, and the underwater sites of Lakes George and Champlain.

Starbuck attempts to confirm the historical record through archeology and to forge a tangible link between the present and the past. Through excavation and preservation, the archeologist forges a bond between the people of today and their ancestors, who, once we see their tools and trinkets, seem not so strange and distant as they did before.

Starbuck introduces each site with an historical background sketch and a history of past archaeological research. He then discusses his own digs, seamlessly weaving technical archaeology with personal anecdote to draw the reader with enthusiasm and immediacy. Starbuck searches for clues about the soldier's day-to-day life to fill gaps left by "dry orderly books." He digs for answers to specific questions. …