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EastviewMall,Victor585.425.2302 FALLSALE SAVE35%ANDMORE * Countless artifacts are buried throughout western New York as remnants of Native Americans and Europeans who once lived there. Hardly any of it ever gets un- e arthed for research, but i n Bristol, Ontario County, a treasure trove of find- i ngs shed light on the area’s ancestors. Aproperty called “Burning Springs” on Bristol’s Case Road — named for the flammable gas which bubbles up through a stream on the property — is known as an ancient spiritual location for Native Americans and asettlement of some of town’s first pioneers. Archaeologists only re- c ently began an excavation of the site, and found pounds of material dating back hundreds of years. “We use the objects to tell the story of their lives,” said local archaeologist Ann Morton, who has assisted in excavating t he site since 2009. “We speak for those who are no l onger able to speak for themselves.” Objects found include cookware and housing i tems, coins, glass and Native American projectile points, which could have been used for arrows or spears. Morton has been w orking on the site hers elf and brought a class of Finger Lakes Community College students to help dig this year. There were at least t hree homesteads on the p roperty throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as settlers moved into the area from other places in the colonial U.S. Before t hat, it was populated by members of the Seneca Nation of Indians. “If you grew up anywhere around the area, you knew about Burning Springs — it was just part of the culture,” said Bristol Historian Beth Thomas. Records say the Burt family was the first to live at the site, followed by s everal other local families. A Massachusetts land company bought many of the parcels in the late 1700s and sold them to Massachusetts settlers moving west to farm open land. The plot’s recent own- e rs knew there was historical significance to the a rea, as relatives of its one-time inhabitants visited regularly over the years, said Alan Jones, w ho grew up on the property and now lives in Rochester. “My mother used to walk around up at the old c abin site and pick up p ieces of pottery,” said Jones, adding that a member of the New York State Archaeological Association suggested excavat- i ng the site. “ I said, ‘sounds like fun, I’d like to know what’s under there,’” he said. Archaeologists thought they’d find only r emnants of Native American culture, but ended up finding much more, said Morton. One of the last owners of the property, the Parsons, did away with much of the housewares left there by previous owners by throwing it into a backyard dump at the turn of the 20th century. The dump, or midden, is w here much of the excavated material was found. Archaeologists do much of their work in response to potential construction, so it’s unusual to be excavating a site simply for local historical purposes, she said. “ We are very aware of the responsibility that we h ave to sites — it’s not a playground,” she said. “What is in the ground is a reflection of somebody w ho really lived and really died.” Having the site on town grounds gives nearby residents a hands-on look at w ho founded their home- t own and why, said Thomas. “The magic that was recognized by the Native Americans was magic to t he people that settled h ere too,” she said. “Now we’re finding it all over again.” STADDEO@Gannett .com Archaeologists find local treasure trove Burning Springs dig yields history SARAH TADDEO @SJTADDEO SARAH TADDEO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/@SJTADDEO Archaeologist Ann Morton describes her findings at a previous e xcavation area at Burning Springs in Bristol.