The Lamoka Lake site, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Schuyler County, New York State. Archaeological excavation was first conducted in the 1920s and resulted in the identification and definition of the Archaic Period. Additional digs took place throughout the Twentieth Century. Hundreds of features, including hearths, pits, and layers of ash and charcoal called fire beds, have been excavated. Artifacts include small, crude looking tools called Lamoka points, thousands of stone net sinkers, mortars and pestles, and animal bone tools, ornamental items, and food remains.
In 1932 archaeologist William Ritchie published his report on the Lamoka Lake site and his 1962 book The Archaeology of New York State provided more information on both the site and the Lamoka culture. The history of research at Lamoka Lake spans the entire Twentieth Century. In addition to the archaeological importance of the site itself, a close reading of the history of research at Lamoka also provides a valuable perspective on the history of archaeological method and theory and the cultural context in which knowledge is attained and ideas develop.
Part of the archaeological site is preserved within the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The privately owned portion of the site was purchased in 2005 by the Archaeological Conservancy in order to preserve the remainder of the site in perpetuity.
For the history of archaeological research at Lamoka Lake, please see “A Good Deal of an Archaeological Romance.”