Friday, August 28, 2015

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

With fall less than a month away, cooler weather is already beginning to make an appearance in Pennsylvania.  We would like to take this time to reflect on our summer activities, and share our upcoming events.

“First Pennsylvanians: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania” – Available Now

The summer of 2015 saw the release of “First Pennsylvanians: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania”, a comprehensive book on the area’s prehistoric inhabitants. Intended for use by the general public, it is the first book of its kind published in Pennsylvania. Authors Kurt Carr and Roger Moeller describe the lifeways of early Pennsylvanians during each time period of their 16,000 year occupation of the region.  The 246 page book is richly illustrated with 263 photographs, drawings and maps and has been describe as a museum on paper by local public radio host, Scott Lamar. For $29.95 “First Pennsylvanians” is available in paperback from Shop PA Heritage,, and other book retailers.

Nature Lab Presentation Series at the State Museum of Pennsylvania– Concluded

The season also ushered in a new series of presentations held in the Nature Lab on the third floor of the State Museum. The archaeology staff was on hand every Thursday afternoon to present different topics on Pennsylvania archaeology. Topics ranged from prehistoric stone tools and pottery to current compliance archaeology projects in the Commonwealth.  With the conclusion of this summer program, we would like to thank all those who attended the presentations, and everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this series a success.

Excavations at Fort Hunter – September 2-October 2, 2015

Every fall since 2006 the Archaeology Section has led an excavation at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Harrisburg, PA. On September 2nd (less than a week away!) the search for the fort at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park will resume. Excavations have documented the historic and prehistoric occupations at the site. While previous years have not been successful in locating the stockade or other fort structures , a new year brings new opportunities, and archaeologists will be on hand Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm to answer questions about the site and offer brief descriptions of the archaeological process. In addition to weekdays, excavation will take place on Fort Hunter Day, to be held Sunday, September 20, 2015. Excavations will close on October 2, 2015.

Kipona Festival – September 5-7, 2015

The Archaeology Section will make their annual appearance at Kipona Festival, Harrisburg’s free festival celebrating the Susquehanna River. Our booth will be located on City Island, west of the baseball field. Look for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission blue banner and the 20 foot dugout canoe.  Stop by, have a seat in the canoe and learn about the prehistory of the area. Artifacts recovered from excavations on City Island in the 1990’s will be on display.  Staff and volunteers from the Section will be present during the event to answer questions and offer insight.

Illustration of flint knapping from the book “First Pennsylvanians”

Workshops in Archaeology – November 14, 2015

The Archaeology Section of The State Museum of Pennsylvania invites you to attend the annual Workshops in Archaeology on Saturday, November 14, 2015. This program is designed to provide the general public with an overview of archaeological discoveries across the Commonwealth. This year’s theme is “Weed Seeds to Garden Seeds: The Archaeology of Plant Foods and Farming in the Keystone State.” In addition to the presentations, attendees can share their archaeological discoveries with staff from the Bureau for Historic Preservation who will provide assistance with artifact identification and recording archaeological sites, an essential task for protecting and preserving our archaeological heritage. An additional offering includes a demonstration by a master flintknapper who will make stone tools using Native American techniques. A reception at the close of the sessions will provide an opportunity for the attendees to meet with the presenters and staff in the Anthropology and Archaeology Gallery of The State Museum.
The program and registration form are available from our website. If registered before November 6th, the cost is $25 for the general public or $15 for students and $15 for members of the Heritage Society, SPA, or PAC. The cost of registration at the door is $35.

October is Archaeology Month in Pennsylvania.  The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will have programming throughout the Commonwealth that is open to the public as well as these opportunities offered through The State Museum. We hope to see you at one of our many upcoming events!

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

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