According to the Hebrew calendar, based on the calculations of Rabbi Jose ben Halafta in the second century AD, Adam and Eve were walking around in the Garden of Eden in 3761 BC.
According to the calculations of archaeologist Christina Rieth of the New York State Museum in Albany, people were probably walking around in what is now the Schoharie County community of Central Bridge 300 years before Adam bit into any forbidden fruit.
Forgive us if we are mixing apples and science, but it is undeniably fascinating to know that an ongoing archaeological project is discovering clues about the lives of the earliest known settlers in our area.
The dig is in a privately owned field off Smith Road in Central Bridge, on what Rieth described as a slightly elevated terrace overlooking a flood plain. That was probably no accident, as it is highly doubtful that the Native American inhabitants had any flood insurance.
Rieth said the project's findings indicate that the people had "multiple occupations" that date as far back as 4,000 B.C.
Who knows what wonders are to be found in the ground beneath us as we scurry about on our paved roads and enjoy the comforts of our modern homes?
While Mathusela (3898 BC-2929 BC) was over his long life begetting Lamech and a lot of other offspring, our local residents were making longhouses, fire hearths and cord-marked pottery.
When horses were first being domesticated in Central Asia, when the plow was invented and the Sumerian culture in what is now Iraq was brewing beer, when the Egyptians began measuring time, Stonehenge was being constructed and people began using bows and arrows to shoot each other ... a culture existed right here.
Among items located in the dig, Rieth said, are numerous projectiles fashioned from Pennsylvania Jasper, a stone not native to the immediate area. She said the yellowish stone "would have been prized by Native Americans for stone tool manufacturing."
The dig is in its eighth year.
"It is actually producing a lot of material that is providing us with information on how the people of the Schoharie Valley and (what is now) eastern New York subsisted and what the settlements were like," Rieth said.
"Archaeology is very different discipline than what was portrayed in the movie 'Indiana Jones.' Quite often, the public has the perception that you go out and just start digging."
It's hard work, with meticulous planning and record-keeping, but archaeology is vitally important as we strive to fulfill the very human desire to know what happened before ... and before that ... and before that.
We're very glad this digging for knowledge will continue in our area.