Thursday, August 6, 2020

Uncovering what the metarhyolite quarries in the South Mountain area meant to Native Americans


This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology comes to you from archaeologist Robert Bodnar with help from geologist Robert C. Smith II and archaeologist Hettie L. Ballweber. Mr. Bodnar and colleagues have been investigating metarhyolite quarries in the South Mountain area of Adams and Franklin Counties of south-central Pennsylvania for many years. The following is a preliminary report on their recent work at one quarry location.

By way of background, metarhyolite (commonly listed as rhyolite in the older literature) is a metamorphosed volcanic rock found in different colors, most commonly dark blue or banded but this quarry is located in the less common, purple variety. The material flakes well and is good for stone tool manufacture. Native Americans began using it at least 10,000 years ago and beginning 4000 years ago, it was intensively used and traded in the Susquehanna, Delaware and Chesapeake Bay drainages. The research presented below is the initial step in understanding how groups of Native Americans used these quarries and how this material was distributed throughout the Middle Atlantic region.

Mr. Bodnar can be contacted at bodbl@comcast.net with any questions you might have. We hope you enjoy this presentation.

Seeing Purple: Archaeological Investigations of a Prehistoric Metarhyolite Quarry on South Mountain in Adams County, Pennsylvania.

On June 16, 1994 an article was published in the Gettysburg Times titled: County’s First Industry: Rhyolite Richness. It was written by the late Dr. Louis S. Morgan of Wichita, Kansas. Morgan grew up on a farm in Adams County, Pennsylvania and attended high school in Gettysburg. It was during his childhood that he was expected to follow behind his family’s horse-drawn plow. During this arduous task, he had fun collecting the prehistoric artifacts (he notes sometimes made from purple rhyolite - aka metarhyolite) that the plow would turn up. 

Presumed Selby Bay/Fox Creek Point (purple). Possibly, manufactured from metarhyolite that originated from the South Mountain quarry currently under investigation. (Morgan Collection, Adams County Historical Society #127).  Photo scale rectangles are 1 centimeter long.
Presumed Selby Bay/Fox Creek Point (purple). Possibly, manufactured from metarhyolite that originated from the South Mountain quarry currently under investigation. (Morgan Collection, Adams County Historical Society #127).  Photo scale rectangles are 1 centimeter long.  


The metarhyolite stone artifacts (spear points, etc.) that Dr. Morgan happily collected were the finished products of an industrial process that began at one of the prehistoric metarhyolite quarries that dot the landscape on South Mountain in Adams and Franklin Counties in Pennsylvania.

 A prehistoric quarry, as defined by George Odell, is a specific location on a landscape at which a lithic resource was extracted. They are usually characterized by huge quantities of waste material resulting from this process. Such is the case with the metarhyolite quarry (designated as 36AD0576 in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey files managed by the State Historic Preservation Office, of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission) now under investigation on South Mountain. This prehistoric industrial site was initially identified by the presence of scattered cultural surface material that included large amounts of purple waste flakes, hammerstones, hammerstone fragments, discoidal cores, preforms, and their rejected and broken forms – think of all the debris scattered around a modern limestone quarry. Also visible at the quarry site were metarhyolite outcrops that included a large float boulder (a large block of stone that has broken away from the bedrock). Some of these boulders show signs of being culturally modified or worked. Initially, two discernable quarry pit features (large shallow depressions in the ground surface) were also observed. These two pit features were circular in nature and measure approximately 9’ and 25’ in diameter, respectively. A field investigation was initiated with permission from the owner.  During the summer of 2019 an east/west Trench, 1, was excavated through the center of the 9’ quarry pit and beginning in June of 2020 an east/west Trench, 2, was excavated through the center of the larger 25’ quarry pit. The following is a preliminary report of the initial results of the 2019/2020 excavations although the excavations and analyses are still ongoing.

Trench 2 looking west across the approximate 25’ quarry pit feature. A large culturally impacted metarhyolite float boulder approximately 5’6” long and 1’6” thick protrudes from the northern wall. Hammer mark scars are visible on the radius of the exposed float portion and numerous large diabase hammer fragments, sometimes greater than 18lbs., were located near the float.

Trench 2 looking west across the approximate 25’ quarry pit feature. A large culturally impacted metarhyolite float boulder approximately 5’6” long and 1’6” thick protrudes from the northern wall. Hammer mark scars are visible on the radius of the exposed float portion and numerous large diabase hammer fragments, sometimes greater than 18lbs., were located near the float.


Based on the analysis thus far, it is postulated that a Middle Woodland, Selby Bay phase (dating 1800 to 1100 years ago), single component quarry site was discovered. Thomas Mayr (1972) first defined the Selby Bay phase characterized by Selby Bay points. Henry Wright (1973) recorded some variants of the Selby Bay point (stemmed, lanceolate, and side-notched) among other things. With respect to the quarry under investigation, Curry and Kavanagh (1991) as well as Mayr (1972) note that one of the most common Selby Bay traits is their almost exclusive use of metarhyolite for their flaking material. The Selby Bay quarrymen traveled from the coastal plain areas to the distant Catoctin and South Mountains for their desired metarhyolite, although some trading cannot be ruled out. A radiocarbon date of A.D. 410 +/- 30 was obtained from Trench 1 in 2019. The dated charcoal sample was removed from a burning event located near the bedrock at 93 centimetres in depth. This date fits well within the Selby Bay Cultural Complex A.D. 300 – 700 (Wright 1973) and A.D. 200 – 900 (Inashima 2008). In addition to the radiocarbon date, five Selby Bay related artifacts have been recovered from the two trenches.

Selby Bay/Fox Creek diagnostics recovered at quarry site 36AD0576. The first two artifacts are from Trench 2 and the third artifact was recovered from Trench 1. The third artifact is also metarhyolite, but not of a metarhyolite type that is known by this author to occur in place near the quarry under investigation. The quarrymen likely brought it with them to the site and then lost or discarded it.
Selby Bay/Fox Creek diagnostics recovered at quarry site 36AD0576. The first two artifacts are from Trench 2 and the third artifact was recovered from Trench 1. The third artifact is also metarhyolite, but not of a metarhyolite type that is known by this author to occur in place near the quarry under investigation. The quarrymen likely brought it with them to the site and then lost or discarded it.  


Two thinned bifaces recovered in Trench 2 that resemble what Henry Wright called Selby Bay Phase rough metarhyolite bifaces (Wright 1973 Figure 7m). It is possible, based on their thinned forms, that they were used as tools. Edge wear analysis has not been completed.
Two thinned bifaces recovered in Trench 2 that resemble what Henry Wright called Selby Bay Phase rough metarhyolite bifaces (Wright 1973 Figure 7m). It is possible, based on their thinned forms, that they were used as tools. Edge wear analysis has not been completed.


Based on the evidence gathered thus far, the Selby Bay quarrymen were likely following an industrial quarry site procedure consisting of: material extraction, reduction and removal of low grade material, and rough-out/preform production (Sullivan and Rozen 1985). Some limited final tool production also took place. The target “ore” here seems to be an aphanitic phase of the circa 564 million year old Catoctin Metarhyolite (Aleinikoff et al., 1995). This formation began as a near surface volcanic flow that was later metamorphosed forming metarhyolite. The matrix appears to be a dusky purple and the interstitial igneous flow breccia with various, more reddish hues (personal communication Smith II, 2020). In Trench 1 the target ore was dusky purple in the form of buried float slabs near the bedrock interface. In Trench 2 the target ore seems to be a dusky purple with more reddish hues occurring as float.

Heavily worked float boulder protruding from the northern wall of Trench 2. The photo scale is one meter.

Heavily worked float boulder protruding from the northern wall of Trench 2. The photo scale is one meter. 


When interpreting the extraction process that took place, research from Hatch (1993) lends some guidance. His quarry development model proposes three stages of extraction which seem to fit, with modification, the evidence that is being uncovered at the current quarry site.

Stage one involves the quarrymen detaching a suitable piece of material from an exposed bedrock source or simply selecting useable surface material. Cresson (2015 personal communication) states that the quarrying of exposed surface material is common during the Middle Woodland period (2100 to 1100 years ago). To aid in the detachment process, large hand held hammerstones were most likely employed. Hammerstones are the principle quarry tool being found at the site. Ritchie (1929) states that “the hammer is the tool of tools. No single implement was more indispensable to primitive man”. The quarry site hammerstones were made predominantly from diabase, but metarhyolite, quartz, metabasalt, and quartzite were also observed in decreasing amounts. Most of the hammerstones are broken and many are very fragmented. Two types of diabase hammerstones were used. The most common type was medium-grained York Haven Diabase, and the second type was a fine-grained Rossville Diabase (personal communication Smith II, 2020). Interestingly, the nearest diabase source is many miles distant and some of the fragments weigh up to 19 pounds. Tremendous effort was put forth by the quarrymen just to get the diabase hammerstones to the site. 


Diabase hammerstones: 19 pound medium-grained quarry boulder left, smaller Rossville Diabase pictured
Diabase hammerstones: 19 pound medium-grained quarry boulder left, smaller Rossville Diabase pictured 


Stage two of Hatch’s quarry development model would involve the quarrymen digging around a near surface exposure in order to get at the targeted ore. Two hoe-like metarhyolite digging tools were recovered from the quarry excavation which would help with this task. Hatch states that stage two can be a progression into stage three. That would depend on the surface exposure’s size, and whether targeted ore was encountered as bedrock.

Finally, stage three, as Hatch describes, would be a progression to larger, deeper, and more labor-intensive quarry pits.

Initial data from Trench 2 indicates that the quarrymen began digging at an exposure (stage two) and then followed the targeted ore vertically and horizontally. As the quarry workers exposed, extracted, and reduced the targeted ore, they discarded their waste behind them leaving a larger deeper pit (stage three) filled with the debris of their labor.

Two different reduction technologies (tool making strategies) were likely being employed at the site: discoidal core reduction (Terradas 2003) and staged bifacial reduction (Callahan 1979). During the Selby Bay Middle Woodland Period both technologies were used (Stewart 1992 and Cresson n.d.). Evidence of discoidal core reduction at the site included numerous discoidal cores, trihedral platform flakes, and flake preforms. 

Basically, this reduction method is straight forward: hit then flip, hit then flip in a circular fashion. When the core is flipped, the flake scar on the reverse side becomes the next striking platform (Clarchaeology 2013).


Example of flake preform (personal communication Nissly, 2020).

Example of flake preform (personal communication Nissly, 2020).


Exhausted discoidal cores were numerous at the site. Sizes varied from large 11+” in diameter to smaller 2.5” in diameter.

Exhausted discoidal cores were numerous at the site. Sizes varied from large 11+” in diameter to smaller 2.5” in diameter. 



The staged bifacial reduction technology is used when the quarrymen want to reduce a block of stone to a single finished artifact. The mass goes through a series of steps that includes shaping and thinning. Unwanted and surplus material is removed during this process creating a lot of waste (Crabtree 1985).

Evidence of the staged bifacial reduction technology from the site.

Evidence of the staged bifacial reduction technology from the site.



Dr. Morgan ended his article in the Gettysburg Times with a hope that his donation of thousands of artifacts (some purple) might someday be beneficial to a person wanting to learn more about the great rhyolite industry that drew a distant people, like the Selby Bay, to a place now called Adams County, Pennsylvania.

 

References:

 

Aleinikoff, J.N., Zartman, R.E., Walter, M, Rankin, D.W., Lyttle, P.T., and W.C. Burton

1995    U-Pb ages of metarhyolites of the Catoctin and Mount Rogers Formations, central and southern Appalachians: Evidence for two pulses of Lapetan Rifting, American Journal of Science, v. 295, p. 428-454.

 

 

Callahan, Errett

1979    The Basics of Biface Knapping in the Eastern Fluted Point Tradition: A Manual for Flintknappers and Lithic Analysts. Archaeology of Eastern North America 7(1):1-180.

 

Clarchaeology

2013    August, 24 Discoidal Core Reduction (with commentary) by Dr. Chris Clarkson.

https: //youtu.be/6tbuczKX864.

 

 

Crabtree, Don, and John D. Speth

1985    Experiments in Flintworking Vol. II. Special Publication # 10. Experiments in Replicating Hohokam Points. Vol. 16: 1 (1974) Reprinted From Tebiwa.

 

Cresson, J.

N.D.     Fox Creek Reduction Strategies. Ms. available through the author, Moorestown, New Jersey.

 

Curry, Dennis C., and Maureen Kavanagh

1991    The Middle to Late Woodland Transition in Maryland. North American Archaeologist 12(1): 3-28.

 

Hatch, James W.

1993    Research into the Prehistoric Jasper Quarries of Bucks, Lehigh and Berks Counties, Pennsylvania, Report submitted to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA.

 

Inashima, Paul Y.

2008    Establishing a Radiocarbon Data Based Framework for Northeastern Virginia Archaeology. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia 63(4): 251

 

Mayr, Thomas

1972    Selby Bay in Retrospect. Maryland Archaeology 8(1):2-5.

 

Odell, G.H.

2004    Lithic Analysis. New York: Springer.

 

Ritchie, W.A.

1929    ‘Hammerstones, Anvils, and Certain Pitted Stones’. In L. H. Morgan Research and Transactions of the New York State Archaeological Association VII, 2.

 

Stewart, R. Michael

1992    Observations on the Middle Woodland Period of Virginia: A Middle Atlantic Region Perspective. In Middle and Late Woodland Research in Virginia: A Synthesis, edited by Theodore R. Reinhart and Mary Ellen N. Hodges, pp. 1-38. Archaeological Society of Virginia, Special Publication No. 29.

 

Sullivan, A. P., III and K. C. Rozen

1985    Debitage Analysis and Archaeological Interpretation. American Antiquity 50:755-779.

 

Terradas, X.

2003    Discoid flaking method: Conception and technological variability. In M. Peresani (ed.), Discoid Lithic Technology: Advances and Implications, pp. 19-31. BAR International Series 1120. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Wright, Henry T.

1973    An Archeological Sequence in the Middle Chesapeake Region, Maryland. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Geological Survey, Archeological Studies No. 1.

           

 

 








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

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Archaeology and the Importance Inventory Digitization



“. . . to foster understanding. . .”


I like this phrase because it is at once both purposeful and aspirational. The words are found towards the bottom of a poster hanging on a wall in my studio apt. The image in the poster is a rendering of world-renowned artist Christo’s massive art installation, “Wrapped Reichstag”. In the context of the poster, the phrase refers to a renewed effort to nurture communication and understanding between the young people of North America and Germany in the years immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall. 


 “Wrapped Reichstag”


Lately, during the last four months specifically, a broadened interpretation of this phrase has become a source of inspiration for me during the many hours of monotonous and repetitive data entry. And that has been the order of the day for months now: data entry. More specifically, the digitization of artifact inventories on paper, many of them handwritten 35, 50 or more years ago. Line after line, site number, catalog number, northings and eastings, depth, artifact description, quantity and so on. Why is this important to do? Ah yes, look to the poster!

The purpose of this inventory digitization is twofold. The first is digitization as a means of preservation. Paper yellows and becomes brittle, ink and pencil fade over time, and information would eventually be lost were it not transferred to another medium. The second purpose is accessibility. One cannot know if information is applicable or relevant to their lives if they do not have access to it. Digitization is a first step toward facilitating greater availability of this information to everyone. Fewer gates, and fewer gatekeepers.  A democratization of data, perhaps which, with a healthy dose of optimism has the potential (you guessed it) - to foster understanding.

And therein lies another aspect of this quote – as it is a call to action.  This call to action has only been partially realized by the opening up of stored information that was once restricted to those of a certain socio-economic pedigree (read education). In other words, the careful control of information flowing in a top down fashion as many institutions tend to do, oftentimes protects a prevailing narrative/interpretation that reinforces their own legitimacy within the larger societal structure, for better or worse.

To fulfill this call, the equally necessary flip side of this imperative is to engage in the act of listening to multiple interpretations. Listening is often viewed as a passive behavior, but if we are truly striving “to foster understanding”, participants must engage in active listening. Active listening is not always easy. It requires patience and empathy and a willingness to be exposed to experiences and ideas that are divergent, or even outright antithetical to one’s own worldview, which understandably can be uncomfortable. It is a skill set like any other, that must be developed and maintained in order to be effective. The reward for this effort is the possibility of creating not only a more inclusive and thereby more accurate narrative, but also a more meaningful one.

Archaeologists are concerned about the preservation of sites and have strived to serve as stewards of archaeological sites and the associated data. Why shouldn’t this data (excepting sensitive location information) be freely shared with others? How are site security concerns of archaeologists balanced with the curiosity of the general public? Preservation of sites and data are at the core of the Historic Preservation movement enacted by law in 1966 and a key component to our training.  If we protect these resources from destruction either through development or looting- we preserve them for the future.  We don’t know what our immediate future will look like, but as in all measures of preservation, we are protecting resources for hundreds or thousands of years to come. Evaluating human behavior through the scientific analysis of the archaeological record is critical for our ability to prepare and predict adaptation and culture change in an ever-changing world.  Sharing data regarding these sites and resources requires an open communication process that understands the desire to learn and in exchange, garners the respect and understanding of the scientific analysis produced. 


Both personally and professionally, this phrase, just three words long, has served as a strong foundation for me these past several months of uncertainty and upheaval, and it is my pleasure to share it with you. I hope it inspires you “to foster understanding” in your endeavors as it has me in mine.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Identifying Patriotism through Archaeology


Many of our blogs since quarantining have been related to the pandemic; how the staff of the Section of Archaeology works from home, updates on lab projects, a virtual tour of publicly accessible archaeological sites around Pennsylvania, and the effects of epidemics on Native American populations in the past. The pandemic has changed much of our daily routines and forced us to examine our priorities in an effort to avoid crowds and exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, not all of us have chosen to follow the guidance of scientists and doctors who universally advise social distancing and above all - wearing a mask. Protesters have argued that this guidance is an infringement on personal rights - a violation of the Constitution. Some have identified masks as a political tool or a sign of weakness. The upcoming July 4th holiday- Independence Day in the United States is an opportunity for us to examine the archaeological record for evidence of the social unrest and patriotism that gave birth to our nation. The following are several examples from the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia was the largest city in North America in the 18th century and home to a diverse community of European skilled laborers and professionals. The city’s location on the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay provided an important port for commerce in the developing Commonwealth and contributed to its role in early Colonial government. Penn’s vision for religious freedom and his Quaker beliefs placed these pacifists in the middle, as protests erupted prior to the French & Indian War. The Quaker government, known as the Provincial Council, chose to avoid conflict, despite pleas from settlers to control the Indian tribes living in the region. Virginia wanted to control lands in the Ohio River Valley for future expansion and wanted Pennsylvania to assist in removing the French from the north west corner of the Commonwealth.

An important political figure of the time was Ben Franklin. Archaeology conducted at his home and printing press yielded artifacts that supported his role as a scientist. He had many interests, including paleontology based on a mastodon tooth recovered in these excavations. This discovery links Franklin’s interest in science to the social and economic events of his time and the general dissatisfaction with the British government ruled by a king located 3000 miles away. The colonies were not dominated by the old traditions of Europe, but rather new concepts of government were emerging including democracy and self-rule. Franklin’s role as the first Postmaster and his printing of the Pennsylvania Gazette were an opportunity to spread ideas of independence and publish his experiments with electricity.

Mastadon tooth.
Credit: Philadelphia Archaeology Forum

Franklin’s role within the Provincial government increased as the tensions between colonists and Native Americans escalated. He saw a need to unite the colonies in their effort to control territories. His political cartoon Join or Die and accompanying editorial “The Disunited State” published in 1754 called for the colonies to join with the British to defeat the French and the Indians. He essentially implored us to come together to defeat our enemies or we will fail.

Join or Die.
Credit: Library of Congress

(The Benjamin Franklin History website was created by the Benjamin Franklin Historical Society as part of of the University of Massachusetts History Club )

Franklin needed to inspire the Quaker pacifists to take action and for the other colonies to take up arms in a united effort. His political cartoon was the first one published and led the way for others to push for funding and support of a militia.

Franklin had limited military experience but, with the assistance of Conrad Weiser, was instrumental in organizing the Pennsylvania Militia and was significant in his multiple roles during the French & Indian War (1756-1763). The costs of fighting a war in the Americas and around the globe during the Seven Years War took a toll on Britain’s economy. This led to multiple taxes imposed on the colonies to raise revenue. The 1765 Stamp Act was initiated to raise monies for British troops and required the purchase of stamps for all official documents. Opposition to the Act was illustrated in newspapers, political cartoons and even teapots. Fragments of teapots have been recovered at several archaeological sites in the Philadelphia area.

Stamp Act Tea Pot
Credit:  W
ikimedia

This remarkable punch bowl was recovered during excavations for the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Produced in England and based on research of digitized American and British newspapers by the archaeologists, the story of this bowl was revealed. The bowl was likely produced to commemorate the launch of a new ship or to mark a voyage. The December 1, 1763 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette carried an advertisement for merchants Robert Lewis and Son, located on Front Street in Philadelphia, where they offered an assortment of goods just imported on the “Triphena, Captain Smith, from Liverpool.” It is certainly no coincidence that Captain Smith’s travels on the Triphena over the next few years regularly carried him to Liverpool, the place where the punch bowl was made, as well as Philadelphia, Charleston, and the West Indies.

Punch Bowl
Credit:  Philadelphia Archaeology Forum

The slogan Success to the Triphena on the interior of the bowl demonstrated support of the merchant trade and the dependency on trade. The Triphena also played a role in the protests of the Stamp Act by colonists. In late 1765, Captain Smith carried a notice from the merchants and traders of Philadelphia addressed to the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, asking assistance in pressuring Parliament to repeal the offensive act. The Act was repealed in March of 1766 but tensions between England and the colonies continued to grow, eventually leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Franklin’s appointment during the Revolutionary War to the Committee of Safety led to the installation of a series of chevaux-de- frise in the Delaware River to defend Philadelphia. The assistance of France in our efforts to defeat the British was significant in developing and engineering this line of defense to protect Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer which were positioned south of Philadelphia. The sharp pointed tip of the chevaux-de-frise was not visible at high tide but at low tide was intended to puncture the hull or at minimum, slow the approaching British ships. Unfortunately, British forces were able to navigate through the defense and attack and defeat both forts before occupying Philadelphia in the winter of 1777.

Map of Chevaux-de-frise
Credit:  Library of Congress
Hurricane Sandy in November 2012 stirred up debris from the bottom of the Delaware River and wreaked havoc on communities. The clean-up effort by the Anchor Yacht Club of the river at Bristol, PA yielded a single cheval de fries. Their discovery of a 28’8” long oak post with the iron tip intact is the longest example recovered to date. It’s diameter tapers from 13.6” at the base to 6.2” at the tip.

Cheval-de-Frise installed at Brandywine Battlefield
Credit: PHMC
Franklin’s Committee of Safety had recognized this form of land defense as a potential method for defending Philadelphia from British forces, but they didn’t factor in loyalists who might provide the British with locational information which would allow for navigation around the obstacles. The placement of these massive logs required large wooden cribs (some 40 x 45 foot) and tons of stone to secure the posts. There were attempts to keep their installation secretive, but they couldn’t be installed without observation by loyalists. The wealthy merchants of Philadelphia stood to lose if trade between England and Philadelphia ceased. Historians suggest that between twenty and thirty percent of the citizens were loyalists (Tories) and about the same number were Quaker pacifists who were unwilling to fight. Raids by Loyalist troops on households confiscated goods intended for Washington’s troops. In 1778 the state legislature in Lancaster passed the Act of Attainder to confiscate the properties of all who joined or supported the British. When British troops fled Philadelphia at the end of June 1778, an estimated 60,000 loyalists had fled the country. British supporters still here lost their properties, many fled to Nova Scotia and African Americans who sided with the British were returned to slavery in the Caribbean.

Political divide continued to define Pennsylvania well into the 19th century and artifacts that illustrate that support or divide from England continued to be produced. This glass tumbler was recovered by archaeologists prior to the construction of Independence National Historical Park. The simple political message- LIBERTY, expresses the support of the struggles for independence. It also provides a personal connection to the German baker who lived in the house where this tumbler was recovered. His privy yielded household goods reflective of a simple lifestyle with a few upscale goods, commonly found in colonial house lots.

Tumbler
Credit: Philadelphia Archaeology Forum

These are just a few artifacts that illustrate Pennsylvania’s role in the development of our democracy as we know it. There are still divides amongst us ranging from rural and urban, conservative and liberal, wealthy and poor, white and non-white. Our passion for political causes and issues are at the root of who we are as a Commonwealth. Note that we are not a State, we are a Commonwealth, defined as a community formed for the common good and welfare of all. Wow- the Common Good and Welfare of All. Those are strong, meaningful words- they were in the 18th century and they still are today. As I write this blog and think about the artifacts illustrated here and the passionate causes they represented, I have to wonder what future generations will think of our artifacts that illustrate current viewpoints. Can we come together as a community and be mindful of our need to social distance and wear masks? I think we can if we can think about the determination and conviction of our forefathers in leading us to be an Independent Nation, it seems like a small sacrifice to wear a mask.

We thank you for continuing to follow our blog and hope that you’ve found this post of interest as we continue to telework at home. Keep checking our collections on the PHMC Collections page and following our blog. We thank all of you who support preservation of our past so we can share this material with you and generations to come. Enjoy our freedoms and celebrate July 4th, 2020 wisely – stay safe and healthy!

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