Phase III Data Retrieval Excavations, John Hill Site A00104.000365, Meadowdale Estates Residential Subdivision, Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York
Author(s): Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc.
The Meadowdale Estates Residential Subdivision is a mixed-use residential development within a ±58-acre (23-ha) parcel at the northeast corner of Old Niskayuna and Watervliet-Shaker Roads in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York. The John Hill Site is the archeological remains of a farmstead that stood at this same intersection from the 1830s to the 1960s. This report describes the results of a Phase III data recovery excavation completed of the John Hill Site in 2016.
This study was completed according to a data retrieval plan (DRP)/avoidance plan (AP) that was accepted by the NY State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in August 2015. This work was also conducted in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) dated November 23, 2016.
Excavations uncovered the remains of a privy vault. The privy vault (or outhouse shaft) was utilized in the late 1800s and was central to the disposal of human waste and garbage. However, excavation of this feature suggests that in a rural farmstead context, like the John Hill Site, the privy may have been utilized differently than those in urban settings during the 1800s. The privy was “clean” and that the waste was more frequently emptied from the vault. This was likely due to the simple fact that there were other means of disposing of household and food wastes on a farm that were simply not available in urban context.
Also, artifacts recovered from the privy suggest it was abandoned at some point between 1880 and 1900 and may be related to a period of tenancy at the farmstead. John A. Hill’s purchase of the nearby Shaker Hotel in 1879. It appears that he and his family moved into the hotel shortly afterwards, and never returned to the property. The property became contested between the Hill Family and William Gaffers (for reasons not entirely clear). Through a legal settlement, Gaffers obtained the property in 1880. Between about 1880 and 1900, the house and farmlands were leased out, and/or farmed by tenants according to William Gaffers’ will recorded in 1896. This period of dramatic, and perhaps dynamic, change in occupants of the farmstead is captured in the archeological record.
Cite this Record
Phase III Data Retrieval Excavations, John Hill Site A00104.000365, Meadowdale Estates Residential Subdivision, Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York. Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc.. 2018 ( tDAR id: 455615) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8455615
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
John Hill Site 00104.000365
Calendar Date: 1830 to 1960
min long: -73.832; min lat: 42.728 ; max long: -73.743; max lat: 42.763 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Contact(s): Adam Luscier; Matthew Kirk
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