Friday, January 15, 2010

Archaeology Exhibit at Farm Show a Huge Hit

By all measures, the archaeology exhibit at the 94th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show was a resounding success. Throughout the course of the week, tens of thousands of visitors to the show enjoyed the ever popular replica dugout canoe, select artifacts on display excavated from historic sites across Pennsylvania, complimentary posters and brochures, and flint knapping demonstrations. It is clear by the volume and enthusiasm of the crowd, the public is very much interested in and values its rich cultural heritage.
Children, adults, and even a canine critter named Bandit the biker dog experienced a “ride” in the dugout canoe. Constructed solely with stone tools, popular questions about the canoe included length (20ft.), weight (approx. 600 lbs.) and type of wood (pine). And yes, it does float.

Visitors also inquired about many of the objects on display such as the lead pencil and clay marbles from Eckley Miners village, the late 19th century glass bottles from the oil boom town Pit Hole City, and the glass trumpet found at Ephrata Cloister.

The “eagle eyes” award goes to the gentleman who spotted an error on our Trails of History banner. He is quite right, the road labeled 76 between Harrisburg and Allentown is in fact 78. Fortunately, that minor flaw didn’t stop folks from learning about how archaeology contributes to our understanding of the past, and ultimately, how it can help us in the future.
A singularly unique aspect at the Farm Show, special thanks goes to Bob Winters for his flint knapping demonstrations. All week long, the young, old, and everyone in between were fascinated by the all but lost craft of chipped stone tool production.

Thanks must also go to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to staffing the exhibit throughout the week. Your help is much appreciated; we couldn’t do it without you. Hope to see you next year!

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

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