It's all peace and love as archaeologists sift through the grounds of 1969's Woodstock concert, hoping the fields serve as a time capsule for the festival's 50th anniversary next year. Max Yasgur's field in Bethel, N.Y., 80 miles north of New York City, is already on the National Register of Historic Places for its place in history where some 400,000 fans gathered to hear musicians like The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Janis Joplin during an epic three-day summer concert.
Project Director, Josh Anderson of Binghamton University's Public Archaeology Facility, is heading up the effort to map out the concert grounds so visitors to the planned museum can get a feel for the Summer of '69's historic music festival. Anderson says, "The overall point of this investigation is to kind of define the stage space. We can use this as a reference point." He adds, "People can stand...and look up at the hill and say, 'Oh, this is where the performers were. Jimi Hendrix stood here and played his guitar at 8:30 in the morning."
The dig has uncovered bits of fencing and pull tabs from aluminum cans that can guide archaeologists to where the crowds were likely scattered. Wade Lawrence, director of the Museum of Bethel Woods says, "This is a significant historic site in American culture, one of the few peaceful events that gets commemorated from the 1960's." Lawrence said the dig will help museum officials map out the layout of the venue as they compare findings against concert photos and aerial shots taken during the concert. The 50th anniversary celebration of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair will be held on the grounds in August 2019.