Friday, November 12, 2010

Archaeology Day at the State Capitol

Wrapping up our celebration of Archaeology Month in Pennsylvania this year was the annual Archaeology Day at the State Capitol on Monday November 8th, held in the East Wing Rotunda. With so much happening in the world of archaeology, we just couldn’t contain everything to the month of October. Archaeology Day at the Capitol is one of the few times a year when the archaeological community has the opportunity to interact face to face with elected officials to impress upon them the value of archaeology and “make the case” for bolstering legislative support.

An additional aspect of the program included undergraduate students from Indiana University of PA, Edinboro University of PA and West Chester University presenting posters on recent archaeological fieldwork from their respective institutions. State Museum Section of Archaeology staff was also on hand with a new poster highlighting the past five field seasons of investigations at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. The now nearly-famous cannon ball recovered there in 2008 was also on display.

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Invited as featured guest speakers, Neil and Francine Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation gave a special presentation to third and fourth graders from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and 7th graders from the Catherdral School in Harrisburg. Students were introduced to the heritage and culture of the Tuscarora including learning the difference between native corn and modern hybrid varieties, and the significance of wampum to native peoples. Thanks to Neil and Francine for making the trip from upstate New York to share their history of the Tuscarora with us.

Afterwards the students participated in an exercise to produce cordage, an everyday yet essential material in prehistoric technology. Hands-on activities such as this engage young people and can open the door to an enriched appreciation for indigenous cultures.

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

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