Anthropology's Pacheco and Genesee Valley Conservancy unearth local history

The mission of the local Genesee Valley Conservancy includes a three-fold objective of protecting habitat, open space and farmland in the Genesee Valley. The GVC speaker series aims to prove that Geneseo's unique archeological and cultural history is worthy of preservation. To kick off the GVC's “Walks and Talks” program, associate professor of anthropology Paul Pacheco will present a lecture titled “The Prehistory of the Genesee Valley” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday Sept. 26. at the Wadsworth Library on Center Street.

The program will feature an exploration of the archeological discoveries of the Genesee Valley region, including those on GVC's Indian Fort Nature Preserve.

According to Pacheco, the “Indian Fort” property is located off Jones Bridge Road near the freeway and contains a prehistoric site that dates back to about 1440 A.D.

“It contains the remains of a palisade, or fort,” Pacheco said. Like many locations along the Genesee River, “this site's history most likely dates back to the Iroquois.”

Pacheco said that during the talk, he plans to lay out a basic trend of what occurred in the region during the prehistoric era and explain those archeological findings through an anthropological lens.

“I'll start with the Paleo-Indians at the end of the Pleistocene … and just work my way up to the Iroquois,” he said.

The GVC acknowledges that many places are worthy and suitable for development but states that it hopes to preserve and protect local habitats and ecosystems, while also providing areas for public recreation and enjoyment.

“I think the more people are educated about the very rich natural cultural history of this region, the more they'll be willing to participate in the mission and goals of the conservancy,” Pacheco said.

Over the years, Pacheco has been involved with other local and less prehistoric projects that are important to the prehistoric identity of the region, including the Hopewell burial mound and the “Wadsworth Cabin” sites located in the Geneseo area.

Pacheco said the GVC series plans to express to the public how conservancy efforts affect the protection of natural and cultural resources from development and progression.

“Sometimes in the name of progress, we can destroy those resources which have significant historical and natural value,” Pacheco said. “I think there's too often a tendency for people not recognize the deep history of where they go about living their lives, and instead focus only on the future.”