Northeast Historical Archaeology


Fort William Henry was a British frontier fort constructed on the orders of Sir William Johnson in September of 1755 at the southern end of Lake George in upstate New York. After its destruction by a French army under the leadership of the Marquis de Montcalm in August of 1757, at which time many of its defenders were "massacred", the outline of the fort lay exposed until 1952 when archaeological excavations began to expose the charred ruins of the fort. Regrettably, while this was one of the largest excavations ever conducted on a site of the French and Indian War, the project was published only in popular media. In 1992, however, a new movie version of The Last of the Mohicans was released by Twentieth Century Fox, describing some of the events that took place at this fort, and in 1993 there was a reanalysis and reburial of soldiers' skeletons that were first excavated at the fort in the 1950s. Given the fresh attention directed to this site and to the events that occurred there in the 1750s, it is now quite timely- forty years after the excavation- to present some of the results of a very old project.