This month as I drive down narrow country roads on my way to work, the sunlight shines at low angles through the tree canopies ahead, reminding me of an earlier time when I walked through October light in Albany, New York’s Washington Park on my way to the State Museum. It was the late 1970s, and I had come to Albany from Binghamton to study with State Archaeologist Bob Funk, supported by a SUNY pre-doctoral research fellowship.
Last week the radiocarbon dating firm Beta-Analytic, Inc. provided a radiocarbon date for an archaeological feature excavated by Curtin Archaeological in the Town of Wilton, Saratoga County, New York. The date is 8760 +/- 40 years before present (BP), which when calibrated to the actual range of calendar time (with near-100% certainty) is 7610-7950 BC. This age falls within the poorly understood period that archaeologists in eastern North America refer to as the Early Archaic (8,000-10,000 radiocarbon years BP), and it is one of only a small number of radiocarbon dates of similar age associated with archaeological sites in New York State.
The “Missing 2000 Years” refers to the period 8,000-10,000 years before present (BP). The former New York State Archaeologist Robert E. Funk (2004:130) used this concept to refer to the poorly known Early Archaic period.