Saturday, September 12, 2020

Archaeology Month Virtual Events… Announcing virtual Archaeology Workshop Speaker Series in October

Traditionally at this time of year our blog is full of the numerous Section of Archaeology public outreach programs scheduled in the fall to celebrate Archaeology month in October. Our excitement is so hard to contain that in a “typical” year our events start a month early at the Kipona festival in Harrisburg over Labor Day weekend. They pick up steam at our yearly excavation at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Dauphin County. And culminate in late October or early November at our Annual Workshops in Archaeology. 

It almost goes without saying the pandemic has altered our plans for in-person outreach this year. We continue to turn limitations on social gathering into opportunities to grow our on-line presence and find creative solutions to reach wider audiences. In lieu of the Workshops in Archaeology, we are announcing a virtual Speaker Series the first 4 Fridays in October at 12 Noon. 

Sessions will be presented over Zoom and are free, but registration is required. Once you are registered, attendees will receive an attendance link and password for all of the sessions listed. Please visit the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation to register.

2020 Archaeology Month Poster. PDF available for download!

2020 Archaeology Month Poster. PDF available for download!

We also invite you to explore additional virtual learning content at The State Museum and visit or online collections.


This October for Archaeology month, the Museum’s Archaeology Section will present a virtual Learn at Lunchtime speaker series focusing on The Delaware Indians: Then and Now.  

Over 12,000 years ago at the Shawnee-Minisink site in Pennsylvania, the first people in the Delaware Valley left behind stone tools, evidence of their existence, in the archaeological record. 
It is not known when the Delaware Indian culture/language group began to develop/emerge within the region. The Delaware culture may have very old roots in the region, or it may be the result of a migration of people into the region within the past several millennia. 

Fast forward to 500 years ago. The historic Lenape, also called the Leni Lenape, Lenni Lenape and Delaware people lived year-round in matrilineally organized hamlet communities and villages ranging from the Delaware and Lower Hudson River Valleys to the Atlantic Coast. In 1638, one of the first recorded land treaties was negotiated for the settlement of New Sweden between five Lenape chiefs and Peter Minuit of Sweden for a tract of land approximately seventy-seven miles long in the Lower Delaware River. By the 1700s, European colonial encroachment had displaced almost all Lenape from their native lands. Most remaining Delaware tribe members living in the United States were pushed and pulled further west eventually to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, under the Indian Removal Act in the 1860s. 

The four presentations planned for this year’s Workshops will cover the archaeological evidence of the evolution of Indian culture in the Delaware Valley. Our notable speakers will address the issue of possible origins; the history of the Delaware and their interactions with Europeans; the nature of Delaware culture today and their plans for the repatriation of Delaware human remains and sacred objects. 

Please join us in an educational series to learn more about the cultural history of the Native people of the Delaware Valley and where they are today.  

Presentations will start at 12 Noon with a brief introduction given by Dr. Kurt Carr, Sr Curator of Archaeology and the featured speaker will last approximately 20 minutes with time for question and answer. 

1)  Friday, October 2 - The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Upper Delaware 
     Dr. Roger Moeller, Archaeological Services 
This presentation will identify the Paleoindian, Archaic, Transitional, and Woodland periods at specific archeological sites with their artifacts, excavation and analytical techniques, and major findings. Given major advances in technology, the potential for future research questions will be detailed and discussed. 

2) Friday, October 9 - The Contact Period in New Jersey: An Archaeological Perspective 
        Dr. Gregory D. Lattanzi, Curator, New Jersey State Museum

New Jersey has long benefited from being an early player in the field of contact period archaeology. Starting in the early decades of the 16th century, New Jersey's Original People bore witness to the arrival of countless immigrants - the Swedes, Dutch and English, all who claimed religious and political authority over a land that was not theirs. Through this clash of cultures, we are fortunate to have documentary, archaeological, and ethnographic resources from which to reconstruct many vignettes. When strung together along with understanding the many contextual issues, we hope individual scenes provide a clearer picture of Native American life.

3) Friday, October 16 - History of the Delaware Indians in the Middle Atlantic Region
        Dr. Jean Soderlund, Professor of History Emeritus, Lehigh University (confirmed)

As Dutch, Swedes, Finns, and English arrived in the region that became Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey during the seventeenth century, Lenape’s sought reciprocal relationships for trade and mutual alliance. They remained a sovereign people, protecting personal and religious liberty, while avoiding violence when possible through peaceful conflict resolution

4) Friday, October 23 - The Delaware Indians - Where they are now? 
        Dr. Brice Obermeyer, Director, Delaware Historic Preservation 

       Lenape Relocation Histories: Understanding the Lenape Diaspora

This workshop will focus on the events and factors that led to the multiple removals of most Lenape people from the Delaware Valley.  An emphasis will be placed on the factors that pushed and pulled the Lenape out of the region to their current locations throughout the United States and Canada. The workshop will make regular use of digital maps to follow the multiple Lenape migrations west over time and to discuss the impact of these relocations in the past and today. 


Online References for Further Reading

Official Site of the Delaware Tribe of Indians / About The Tribe, 2020.


Official site of the Delaware Nation/

Pennsylvania Archaeology / Contact Period. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Archived September 10, 2015.


This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology / Delaware County. The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology, July 27, 2012.


Wikipedia / Lenape / Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma/ Delaware Nation of Oklahoma/ Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Wisconsin, / Munsee-Delaware Nation of Ontario / Moraviantown of the Thames First Nation of Ontario / Delaware of the Six Nations, Ontario. 2020.



For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Charles L. Lucy - A True Citizen Scientist

The public is fascinated with archaeology and stories of arrowheads and broken pieces of pottery found in their own backyards. They want to know what it all means and who were the people who made these objects? Reading about past civilizations, attending lectures, volunteering for field projects, finding artifacts, and even experimenting with making and using artifacts from the past are all part of the romance of archaeology. Many people enjoy it as a hobby. 

Charles L. Lucy was a talented amateur or avocational archaeologist interested in all aspects of archaeology, but he also conducted research and published his findings. Charles L. Lucy was a toolmaker Ingersoll-Rand in Athens, Pennsylvania, but also a talented avocational archaeologist for more than 60 years.  He was born February 22, 1922 and died on June 29, 2003, at the age of 81.  Charles, or Chuck as he was known to many, was mentored under Dr. Elise Murray of the Tioga Point Museum in Athens, PA (read more about Dr. Murray in our blog from January 2020 by clicking the link).  He was a member of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a regional representative of the Section of Archaeology, a member of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, an editor for Eastern States Archaeological Federation, a member of the New York State Archaeology Association, and a member of the Tioga Point Museum.  One of his most notable traits is that he was not only extremely interested in archaeology, but he also published his findings (see list of publications below), especially in the journal Pennsylvania Archaeologist, where you can read many of his articles.

Chucks passion for archaeology and the rich archaeological resources along the Chemung and Susquehannock Rivers led to countless excavations and research. Chuck’s interest in Susquehannock pottery, especially from the upper Susquehanna Valley was a focus of his research and led to multiple journal articles and presentations. His attention to detail in his analysis drew the attention of former State Archaeologist, John Witthoft who was interested in the area and research of Proto-Susquehannock culture attributes.  Chuck Lucy participated in excavations at numerous sites with John Witthoft and later Barry Kent. These sites include Kennedy site (36Br43), Blackman site (36Br83) and the Sick site (36Br50). Witthoft examined the Lucy collection from the Sick site for his research and publication of Susquehannock Miscellany in 1959.  Lucy’s significant contributions to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) knowledge base of sites on the upper Susquehanna River and the Chemung River Valley are indispensable.

Charles Lucy excavating at the Kennedy Site with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology in 1983
Charles Lucy excavating at the Kennedy Site with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology in 1983 

When he passed, his family very generously donated his vast library to The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Section of Archaeology library.  Unfortunately, our busy schedules while working in the office have prevented us from doing much with cataloging and organizing this most generous donation. Thanks to the quarantine (something not often said) and tele-working I have had the privilege, as one of my tasks, of working with the more than 1400 books, journals, maps, personal correspondence, and other materials that made up his library.  Most of the material centers on archaeology and anthropological topics, especially northern Pennsylvania and southern New York. It is clear Chuck had many interests, including religious texts, children’s books, general literature, and the natural world.  The titles span from Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines from 1881 thru Yankee, The Magazine of New England Living in 2003; providing over a century’s worth of cultural information.  The wonderful condition of these materials demonstrate that they were of great importance to him.  All were signed by him and many include the date and place of purchase.  There are also many that were signed by their authors with notes about the friendship held between the author and Mr. Lucy.  Charles Lucy was a wonderful asset to Pennsylvania archaeology and his library is a true treasure.  It has been a very interesting task that I have been honored to work with this legacy left in our care. 

This addition to our research library is a wonderful asset that will benefit our research of the collections we curate and also of benefit to researchers who access our collections or as we respond to inquiries and emails regarding archaeological collections from the region.  We thank our many donors who have so generously entrusted us with their collections and continue to share these  donations through our blogs and our online collections.  

Research Library
Research Library 

A sample of publications by Charles L. Lucy


Lucy, Charles

1950                  Notes on a Small Andaste Burial Site and Andaste Archaeology. Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 20(3-4):55-62.


1959                  Pottery Types of the Upper Susquehanna. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 29(1):28-37.


1971                  Pottery Types of the Upper Susquehanna. In Foundations of Pennsylvania Prehistory,

            edited by Barry C.  Kent, Ira F. Smith, and Catherine McCann, pp. 381-392.

            Anthropological Series, No. 1, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,



1991a                The Owasco Culture: An Update. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 7:147-168.


1991b               The Tioga Point Farm Sites 36BR3 and 36BR52:1983 Excavations. Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 61(1):1-18.


Lucy, Charles L., and Catherine McCann

1983                  The Wells Site, Asylum Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 53(3)1-12.


Lucy, Charles L. & Richard J. McCracken

1985                  Blackman Site (36BR83): A Proto-Susquehannock Village. Pennsylvania Archaeologist



Lucy, Charles L. and Leroy Vanderpoel

1979                  The Tioga Point Farm Site. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 49(1-2):1-12


This week we feature a true citizen scientist. For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Leisurely Activities Discovered Through Archaeology

During these recent pandemic months of living, working, and finding entertainment in our homes it is hard to imagine a time before the internet, television, and cell phones existed.  Have you ever wondered what people from other eras did in their free time? Unlike us, peoples from other centuries had very little free time unless they were among the wealthy of society.

The Fort Hunter site (36Da159) in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, is one of the few places where we can get a more complete look into the types of entertainment enjoyed by people of another time. We can see this through a combination of historic documents and photographs and the objects we have recovered from the archaeological excavations at the property.

Fort Hunter Mansion

Fort Hunter Mansion 

In 1870, the Fort Hunter property was sold to Daniel Boas as a second home and retreat from the rigors of city living. Mr. Boas was killed in a carriage accident only eight years later. His daughter Helen married John Reily and they began living in the mansion while they farmed and managed the property. Although John ran the farm and other business ventures while Helen became heavily involved in charities and social causes, they both had significant time to host gatherings for their friends and families at Fort Hunter.

Many photographs show the Reilys enjoying time with their friends around the property, including several of them playing badminton in the side yard of the house. Some of you may recognize this area as the location that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the State Museum, has been exploring through archaeology for the past decade. 

John and Helen Reily and guests (circa 1890s) playing badminton in the side yard of the house

John and Helen Reily and guests (circa 1890s) playing badminton in the side yard of the house

During the Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian (1901-1910/1914) periods, games that could be played in the yard were popular. Badminton (or shuttlecock), lawn bowling, croquet, tennis, and other games were played by both men and women. An afternoon could easily be spent engaged in throwing horseshoes, many of which have been found in the yard. Meanwhile, children may have played with marbles, jacks, or dolls, or emulated their elders by playing many of the same yard games.

All of this exercise in the yard would have worked up the guests’ appetites. Many food and drink-related artifacts have been recovered from the yard area and the area around the outbuildings behind the mansion house. Dishes and utensils, drinking glasses, beer and ginger beer bottles, and food remains including large amounts of oyster and clam shell suggest the possibility of a party or picnic on a nice summer day.

Beer bottles, dishes and utensils, drinking glasses, and remains of food have been found in the yard area

Hunting and fishing recreationally were outdoor activities that were also very popular at this time. Finds from near the porch on the east side of the house indicate that perhaps the Reilys and friends may have been practicing their shooting skills. Large numbers of .22 caliber shells and pieces of clay pigeon indicate that they may have been shooting skeet right in the back yard. 

Clay pigeon pieces and brass shell casing

We also know that the Reilys had a cabin on their property north of the main farm in the area now covered by the Harrisburg Country Club. Accounts indicate that they spent time there, likely hunting in the woods and fishing from the creek.

 The Reilys also enjoyed taking care of their farm animals and their beloved house pets, of which they had many over the years. During their time at Fort Hunter, Helen and John had numerous dogs of all shapes and sizes, a parrot, and a macaque (an Old-World monkey), as well as a very large hog, dairy cows, poultry, and prize horses. Not only do we have the photographs that show these animals but we also have proof from the ground itself. Excavations near the house have produced several Dauphin County dog tags and the skeletons of two dogs were recovered behind some of the outbuildings in the yard.  

1920s Dauphin County dog tag recovered from excavations at Fort Hunter

A gathering at Fort Hunter with one of the Reily’s pet dogs

A gathering at Fort Hunter with one of the Reily’s pet dogs

Many other pictures and descriptions of the Reilys with their animals show the amount of time they spent taking care of them and enjoying their company. Horses were especially important to both Helen and John, as Helen became an accomplished rider as a young girl and John showed off his driving skills in an expensive carriage with a matched team. As noted above, horseshoes have been found in the yard around the house.

Hopefully this blog illustrates the importance of matching historic archaeological finds with research. Although what comes out of the ground is important in itself, sometimes finding that photograph or first-hand account can give you a bigger picture of the site and assist in the understanding of the events that took place there. A unique connection to the past and the individual who left the tangible evidence of their activities is felt when you locate a photograph showing an object that you have pulled from the ground.

Learn more about the Reilys and their time at Fort Hunter  or take a tour of the mansion house. Inside the mansion you will find a great assortment of furniture, clothing, children’s toys, and other vestiges of their lives at Fort Hunter. As well, their archives contain hundreds of photographs, documents, and artifacts that document the lives of generations of people who lived and worked at Fort Hunter. To learn more about our excavations and findings at Fort Hunter, search this blog. See additional images of activities of the Reily family

Please continue to follow us through these weeks as we continue to work from home and stay safe! Remember to visit our on-line collections to view some of the artifacts recovered from Fort Hunter and learn more about their connection to the occupants of this site. 

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .