Wesleyan University

Sarah Croucher: "Excavating Community: Archaeology at the Beman Triangle, Middletown"


The Beman Triangle is a unique archaeological, historical, and cultural resource for Wesleyan University, the City of Middletown, and the State of Connecticut. An area bounded by Vine and Cross streets and Knowles Avenue, it is the site of a 19th-century African-American community associated with the Cross Street AME Zion Church. The Beman Triangle has become a significant part of the Archaeology Program's (ArcP) curriculum. Its archaeology and history now form part of the gateway Introduction to Archaeology course. Each of the last two spring semesters has seen a fieldwork course devoted to giving Wesleyan archaeology students first-hand experience in actual excavation practices and to demonstrating the archaeological potential of the site. The site could become the focus of a transdisciplinary program that would involve not only the ArcP, but also faculty and students from the Anthropology, History, Art History, American, and African American Studies programs. The existence of excavatable areas, of original residential structures and of documentary records in city hall, together with the information that can be provided by community groups, provide rich opportunities for original research. The material recovered in excavation will become part of Wesleyan's archaeological and ethnographic collections, where it can be used for student research and exhibitions.

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