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Canal Society hosts lecture on historic Free Bridge archaeological findings

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  • Staff Report 

The Canal Society of New York State will hold a free lecture on May 11 at the Samuel Center for Canal History in Port Byron, showcasing findings from the 2022 archaeological investigations at the historic Free Bridge site. The lecture will be delivered by Joel Ross, project director at the New York State Museum. It will cover the discoveries made at the Menard Memorial Bridge, which currently supports Routes 5 and 20 over the Seneca River.


During the planning for the replacement of the 1933 Menard Bridge, the New York State Museum’s archaeologists conducted excavations to explore the site’s extensive history. They uncovered significant evidence of the bridge’s role as a key transportation junction used by Native Americans, 19th-century turnpikes, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

Ross, who has nearly three decades of archaeological experience across the United States, led the 2022 excavation team. The findings provide a deeper understanding of the area’s use over thousands of years, enriching the historical narrative of the Seneca River crossing.