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Archaeologists begin dig at lot next to Michigan St. Baptist Church

A team from University of Buffalo in combination with efforts from the Buffalo-Niagara Freedom Station Coalition plan to excavate the site over four days.
Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 17:24:15-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — "Community Archaeology Days," September 17th-18th, and the following week, September 24th-25th, were created to educate children about archaeology, the African American Heritage Corridor, and black history in Buffalo.

"Black history is American history ... we are all in this together," said Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, the chairwoman of the Buffalo-Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, one of the organizers of the community event.

The facility and digs are completely open to the public and free. The space offers educational material, as well as opportunities to utilize equipment and help in the excavation process. In addition, tickets for tours of the Church will be available for $15, via the Michigan St. Buffalo website here.

Teams from the University of Buffalo Archaeology Department have begun their dig by digging small holes across the lot on the eastern side of the Church, and will branch out to larger spaces as days go on.

The goal of the project is to help materialize the black history in the area - the African American Heritage Corridor, specifically the Michigan St. Baptist Church, was frequently the last stop for escaped slaves on their way to Canada in search of freedom. The program's organizers hope they can unearth history with this act.

Thus far the project has only cracked the surface of the dig - finding building materials, food waste, and ceramics. However, they anticipate more in the coming days.

The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 511 Michigan Ave.