Friday, March 15, 2019

The Leiser Collection – Preserving our Past for our Future

This week in Pennsylvania archaeology we are visiting some old friends and familiar collections. At the end of last week a few of the Section of Archaeology staff set out toward Milford, Pa, where they spent two days conscientiously packing up, long time collector and educator, Bill Leiser’s artifact collection from several eastern Pennsylvania sites. Mr. Leiser is a retired middle school science teacher, who collected on sites in the Upper Delaware River Valley for over 50 years and has spent time in his retirement continuing to educate students on prehistoric life in Pennsylvania and the importance of archaeology and record keeping.

Mr. Leiser with a reconstructed pot and stone tools from the Santos site.


 
Mr. Leiser discussing site information and artifacts with staff member as we work to safely bag and box up the artifacts.


Mr. Leiser is a dedicated and knowledgeable avocational archaeologist who has devoted a lot of his time to excavating, curating and sharing his collections. Working alongside other avocational archaeologists such as David Werner, William DeGraw and a former student of Mr. Leiser’s- Fred Assmus these men honed their excavation and mapping skills. Fred Kinsey who was a curator with the William Penn Memorial Museum (now the State Museum of Pennsylvania) and later at the North Museum at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, provided guidance to these former members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Lenape Chapter 12. Bill gleaned invaluable knowledge on recording and mapping sites and continued to keep detailed records on his own excavations. You may remember from previous blog posts (Pike County, The Werner Collection, and In Memorium, Fredrick Assmus January 6, 1946-October 14, 2012) these other members of Chapter 12 have also donated their collections to the Section of Archaeology, which included most of the Zimmermann site (36Pi14) artifacts. Thanks to Mr. Leiser’s donation we believe we have completed our acquisition of all of the available Zimmermann site collection, which as has been mentioned in previous blogs is a large, well-documented site due to the efforts of Mr. Werner, Mr. Leiser, Mr. DeGraw and Mr. Assmus (Collecting in Archaeology).


 
A few of the Zimmermann site artifacts in Mr. Leiser’s collection.

 
One of the many shelving units and cases that Mr. Leiser safely kept his collections.

Along with excavating and collecting at the Zimmermann site, Mr. Leiser also collected on numerous other sites. Some of these other sites include the Santos site (36Pi37 and 36Pi02) and the Ludwig/Pitman site (36Pi19), both of which are large multi-component sites with numerous artifacts covering a large span of time. As he learned from the Zimmermann site, Mr. Leiser continued to take copious notes, create maps of the excavation units and organized the artifacts in such a way that he retained the unit and level information for each one. It is this extensive work that lends to these collections true value as exceptional research sources and great tools to furthering our understanding of the history/prehistory of this region.

Example of some of Mr. Leiser’s notes and maps for the Santos site.


 
Example of how Mr. Leiser kept artifacts organized by site, unit and level.


 
Bill and James with a few artifacts from the Santos site.


With the help of Bill and his son James, archaeology staff were able to safely pack and transport Mr. Leiser’s collection to The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology. We will begin to process Mr. Leiser’s collection into our cataloging and inventory system. This process allows us to prepare the collection for future researchers. The inventory process encompasses current point and ceramic nomenclature facilitating an opportunity to further comparative research into these recently acquired collections from the Upper Delaware. We thank Mr. Leiser for his hospitality, diligence and efforts to help preserve these all-important pieces of our past.

Upcoming events:
Dr. Kurt Carr will be sharing research related to the recently reprinted book Indian Paths of Pennsylvania, Paul Wallace, 2018, this weekend at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum https://www.discoverlehighvalley.com/event/indian-paths-of-pennsylvania/55608/

Archaeologists understand the importance of sharing our research with the community and offer a variety of venues for avocational and professional archaeologists to present their findings. Every spring there is a flurry of conferences available for the general public to attend and share in these discoveries. For those who would like to attend, the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference (MAAC) is being held in Ocean City, Md this year from March 21st – 24th. For the program and other additional information on the meeting please visit the website here: MAAC 2019. Online registration is closed, but walk-in registration is available.


                Another opportunity to hear about the archaeology of Pennsylvania is the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (SPA) annual meeting being held in Uniontown, Pa on April 5th – 7th. For additional information please visit the SPA annual meeting website at: http://www.pennsylvaniaarchaeology.com/AnnualMeeting.htm . We hope to see you at one of the spring meetings or at one of the speaking engagements of our staff. Please take some time to read about the archaeological heritage of our commonwealth and the lessons that archaeology can provide for the future. Follow the example of Bill Leiser and his friends to record archaeological sites that you may know about.  Remember this is your heritage and it is our duty as citizens to strive to preserve the past for the future.  

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

March Madness Aside, This Month We’re Fired up for Fire clay!


In western and northcentral Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, fire clay deposits are found underlying coal seams and date to the Carboniferous age. Fire clays have historically been an important economic resource for the Commonwealth, most notably during the industrial boom of the mid-19th and early 20th century. The archaeological record also demonstrates Pennsylvania fire clays were a natural resource exploited by Pre-Contact Native Americans as early as 6000 years ago, although direct evidence of prehistoric quarry activities is lacking. Future trace element studies from probable sources as compared with artifacts have potential to shed further light on the movement of people, and the trade and exchange of goods and ideas in the Upper Ohio drainage basin, Middle Atlantic and Northeast. 


                          Map of Clay Sources in Northern Appalachia, (Ries 1903)



















Fire clay samples from Cambria, Clearfield and Fayette counties


Fire clay is the common term  for clays of high aluminum content, valued since the industrial revolution and prior for their refractory properties, or resistance to high temperatures. Objects made from fire clay will remain structurally stable up to or above 3,000 ˚F. “Fire bricks” manufactured from these clays are used in metal, ceramic and glass industries for lining furnaces and kilns. Refractory clays are also used to create tools and utilitarian vessels also subjected to high heat in metallurgy, pottery and glass-works, such as crucibles and saggers.

Harmony Brick Works furnace, Leetsdale (36AL480), (Sewell 2004)


By the mid-1800s in Pennsylvania, plastic forms of fireclay and non-plastic deposits, known as flint clays, were mined to produce refractory materials for the iron, coal, ceramic and glass industries, and were a key product that in tandem with the associated coal sources of the region facilitated the burgeoning steel industry in Pittsburgh. 
Fire brick, manufactured by S. Barnes Company of Pittsburgh to line furnaces and kilns at  the Harmony Brick Works, a common brick manufacturer, Leetsdale (36AL480), (Sewell 2004).
 Fire brick manufacture was the second leading clay production industry in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. Combined 1901 and 1902 profits from fire brick manufacture grossed over $9.3 million, just under the $9.9 million income from common brick production. Pennsylvania manufacturers, using local fire clay sources, supplied nearly half of the refractory brick used in the nation, and were only surpassed in production by Ohio refractories (Ries, 1903). 



                                 Table courtesy of (Ries 1903)




















Long before the steel boom greatly increased the demand for commercial-industrial refractory products, Native Americans were exploiting fire clay deposits for their unique plastic, yet stone-like properties. Raw sourced fire clays are easily hand polished to a high luster. For this reason, it was a valued material used by a variety of prehistoric cultural groups to make specialized ground stone tools such as bannerstones or atlatl weights, smoking pipes, gorgets, pendants and other personal adornments.

Gorget fragment and polished fire clay spalls surface collected from the Buffington site (36In15), Veigh collection

















Fire clay artifacts have been found in archaeological contexts that range from the Late Archaic to Contact Period, yet the most distinct and diagnostic artifact almost exclusively made from fire clays are blocked-end tubular pipes. These pipes were produced and widely traded in the Adena and to a lesser extent, the Middlesex/Meadowood interaction spheres during the Early Woodland throughout the Ohio Valley, Middle Atlantic and Northeast.


Blocked-End Tubular fire clay pipes from the Haldeman O’Connor Cache, Shelly Island (36Yo3)



Rafferty (2004: 16) argues that the uniformity of blocked-end tubular smoking pipes suggests they were traded widely from specific and limited number of workshops. In contrast, the variability found in conical and open-ended tube pipes, also widely dispersed during the Early Woodland, were more likely products of local regional developments. While the well documented fire clay sources, such as those found in Portsmouth, Ohio are closer to the heartland of Adena culture in the Upper Ohio Valley, McConaughy hypothesizes that trace element source studies may demonstrate bordering Cresap phase communities of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, whose mortuary practices and aspects of material culture show a vested interaction in Adena trade and exchange networks, were potential suppliers of blocked-end tubular pipes. Pipes found in various stages of early production in Warren, Forest, Elk and Clarion counties may further indicate local fire clay quarry activities. It is possible that local Cresap phase communities would have  controlled access to these upper Allegheny Valley fire clay sources, and the production and trade of this pipe variety facilitated their interactions in these greater regional exchange networks (Mayer-Oakes 1955; McConanghy in press). Smith (1979) also notes that outcrops in Clearfield County believed to be “used extensively for pipe and pendant-making by the later Susquehannock inhabitants of the West Branch” of the Susquehanna River as potential quarry sources in the Early Woodland. 
Fire clay pipes and preforms (Mayer-Oakes 1955)





Blocked-end tubular pipe distribution in the Susquehanna River Valley (Smith 1979)


However, prehistoric fire clay quarries have yet to be recorded in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS). This may be largely due to the extensive mining of these resources in the 19th and 20th centuries that have likely destroyed most archaeological evidence of pre-industrial quarry use. Furthermore, fire clay trace element sourcing studies have yet to be a priority in regional archaeology research. Comprehensive comparative sourcing studies would be a possible avenue for future study, (McConaughy in press), and provide direct evidence that western and north central fire clay sources were also mined in prehistory.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our overview of fire clay use through time. Mark your calendars for the 49th Annual Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, March 21-24, 2019 in Ocean City, Maryland. It is still possible to register online to attend through March 8th.

References

Ries, Heinrich
1903       The Clays of the United States East of the Mississippi River. Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper No. 11.

Mayer-Oakes, William J.
1955    Prehistory of the Upper Ohio Valley; An Introductory Archaeological Study. Anthropological Series, No 2. Annuals of Carnegie Museum 34, Pittsburgh.

McConaughy, Mark A.
In press Chapter 7, Early and Middle Woodland in the Upper Ohio Drainage Basin. The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania Volume 1. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Rafferty, Sean M.
2004       “They Pass Their Lives in Smoke, and at Death Fall into the Fire”: Smoking Pipes and Mortuary Ritual during the Early Woodland Period. The Archaeology of Tobacco Pipes in Eastern North America: Smoking and Culture. The University of Tennesee Press, Knoxville.  

Sewell, Andrew R.
2004       Chapter 5 Phase III Archaeology Data Recovery at the Historic Brickworks Component of 36AL480 in Leetsdale, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania ER# 1999-2661-003-E. Submitted by Hardlines Design Company, 4608 Indianola Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43214. On file at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology.

Smith, Ira F. III
1979       Early Smoking Pipes in the Susquehanna River Valley. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 49(4):9-23

Stewart, R. Michael
1989       Trade and Exchange in Mid-Atlantic Prehistory. Archaeology of Eastern North America 17:47-78


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

Friday, February 15, 2019

TWIPA turns 10!

This week marks a major milestone for TWIPA – it has been a full 10 years since we began blogging about all things archaeology in Pennsylvania. After nearly 400 posts covering all manner of archaeological interests, it can be difficult to keep the creative inspiration flowing, and we feel like this is quite an accomplishment. 

We’ve shared with our readers a comprehensive overview of the archaeology of each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, and posted about topics for literally (and yes, we mean literally) every letter of the alphabet.

We’ve highlighted Cultural Resource Management projects that have been curated at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, as well as several artifact collections generously donated to the museum from a number of avid avocational archaeologists. 

Some posts focused on the meat and potatoes of prehistoric projectile point and ceramic typologies, and still others have drawn attention to more recent, yet out of the ordinary archaeological finds, like a “Frozen Charlotte”, a mechanical toy beetle, and an 1852 U.S. three cent silver coin.

We’ve also kept our readers abreast of the happenings at regional archaeological conferences such as MAAC, ESAF, SPA, and of course the annual Workshops in Archaeology. Local high school classes conducting their own simulated archaeological excavations, or mock digs, have been showcased on TWIPA as well.

Posts about public outreach efforts undertaken by the Section of Archaeology such as our participation in the Kipona Native American Pow-wow and the Pennsylvania Farm Show appear like clockwork, year in and year out, like the changing of the seasons, as do detailed updates every Fall about our excavations at Fort Hunter.

Some posts are longer than others, some more data driven than others. Some rely on figures and photos more so than dense text. Once cobbled together, composed and formatted, the one thing they all have in common is the desire to share this information with you, our readers. You are the reason we put our fingers to the keyboard, and we hope you’ve found our posts interesting and enjoyable.

So, with all due respect to David Letterman and his famous “Top 10” lists, below you will find our 10 most viewed posts since we began way back in February 2009.

 #10
#9
#8
#7
 #6
#5
#4
#3
#2
#1


Take a moment and reflect on how your own life, indeed the world, has changed in the last 10 years, and what it might possibly look like in another 10.  What artifacts will future archaeologists unearth that will be unmistakable hallmarks of the second decade of the 21st century?

Be sure to check back in two weeks when we'll debut a new look to our blog page!

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

Friday, February 1, 2019

Free-standing Keyhole Structures and the Late Woodland Period

Excavation and recovery of the burned keyhole structure.

A curious archaeological feature of the Upper Ohio and the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania is the semi-subterranean free-standing keyhole structure (Smith 1976). Its general two - dimensional shape can be easily compared to the keyhole of a door lock (Figure 1). Attributed to the Late Woodland Period (circa AD. 1000 – 1550) the keyhole structure has three principal parts: the body and rock filled pit connected by a trench that is usually an upward ramped tunnel that extends to the main body (Figure 2).  One or more rows of postmolds line the outer-most edge of keyholes the exception being  the opening around the rock filled pit that remained open for entry and exit purposes. Although the above ground three - dimensional aspect of this feature type no longer exists due to the ravages of time and the elements of nature, certain clues survive in the archaeological record that provide us with a glimpse of their architecture and probable function.

Figure 1.  Comparative shapes of a keyhole feature and the keyhole of a door lock.   

Figure 2. Generalized cross-section of a Late Woodland keyhole structure.

The floor of the body is often covered with carbonized material consisting of a flattened layer of charred grass thatch overlain by burned sections of saplings that connect with the post-lined pattern of postmolds encircling the wall of the body. Occasionally these are cross - configured suggesting that the saplings were inserted into the ground, then bent inward to form an arbor or igloo - like superstructure over the body and ramp. Slabbed charred bark overlying the thatch and saplings present inside many of the keyhole structures indicate that an outer layer of bark was installed to insure a weather tight shell from wind, rain and snow. Some examples show the presence of a relict drainage trench around the inside edge of the body (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Excavation plan of a keyhole structure showing the drainage trench.


                The analysis of more than seventy Late Woodland keyhole structures from the Unglaciated Plateau of northcentral Pennsylvania (Herbstritt 1995) has yielded clues as to their function.  The long axis of these structures is oriented along a northwest, west and southwest line that is also the direction of the prevailing winds in this region. The insulated walls serve as a protective barrier against these winds. A curious modification of the free-standing keyhole structure is the keyhole compound presently known only from those in the Unglaciated Plateau. The architectural design of this unique type of keyhole feature is its incorporation of up to five keyholes joined to a common rock pit (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Artist’s conception of a keyhole compound.


Fire altered rocks found in one or more areas of the keyhole structure is another clue to their possible function as a sweat lodge. Smith (1976) notes that rocks were commonly piled inside the main body, set to one side near the wall making for easy access to and from the semi-subterranean pit. The excavation of other keyhole structures in the West Branch of the Susquehanna Valley contained abundant fire altered rock scattered along the ramp joining the main body. These rocks always show evidence of reddening on their fractured surfaces. Based on the contents of the keyhole structure identified at the Fisher Farm site (36Ce35) in Centre county, Hatch and Daugirda (1980) postulated that the feature functioned as a smoke house for the curing of food stuffs.

Figure 5. Experimental reconstruction of the keyhole structure.

Results of experimental research (Figure 5) on the, burning (Figure 6) and excavation of a reconstructed  keyhole structure (see top), suggests that such features were used as a food storage facilities (Herbstritt 1995). The interior temperature of the structure could have been controlled over extended periods of time during warmer conditions. Information from the experimental work and follow-up excavation of the reconstructed keyhole demonstrated that the archaeological evidence alone could not provide the necessary information revealed through the experimental reconstruction. All said, given the present state of knowledge it may be assumed that semi-subterranean keyhole structures were likely multi-functional as their uses probably varied over the course of the year from sweat lodges to smokeries to food storage structures.

Figure 6. Burning of the keyhole structure.

We hope that you have enjoyed this brief presentation on keyholes from the archaeological and experimental perspectives. Learning from the past through archaeological investigations or experimental archaeology is important to understanding and appreciating our cultural heritage. Please help us to preserve the past by collecting responsibly and respecting our preservation laws.  Do join us next time when we will again bring you yet another fascinating topic on This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology. 


REFERENCES
Hatch, James W. and Joyce Daugirda
1980       The Semi-Subterranean Keyhole Structure at Fisher Farm – Feature 28. The Fisher farm Site: A Late Woodland Hamlet in Context. Edited by James W. Hatch. Occasional Papers, No.12. The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Anthropology.

Herbstritt, James T.
1995       Reliving Prehistory: The Experimental Archaeology of a Keyhole Structure. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pennsylvania, Inc. Morgantown.

Smith, Ira F.

1976       A Functional Interpretation of Keyhole Structures in the Northeast. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 46(1-2): 1-12.


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

Friday, January 18, 2019

Congratulations and thank you to everyone


The staff of the Section of Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania just completed a very busy week at the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show. The weather was cool but no snow.  We seemed very busy, especially the first weekend. However, based on our sampling system, we estimated that approximately 33,000 people visited our exhibit. This is down slightly from last year. This high volume of attendance is a testimony to the quality of the exhibit, the initiative of our volunteers in engaging the public, and the public’s interest in archaeology.

2019 Farm Show 


We would like to sincerely thank you for your personal contributions and hard work.  There is no question in our minds that this exhibit and your efforts make a difference in Pennsylvania archaeology. We continued to see excitement in the eyes of children and adults as they sat in the dugout and as they stood gazing at the artifacts in the display cases, wondering what it must have been like to live in Pennsylvania many, many years ago.


Archaeology Section staff in the dugout canoe 


The dugout is becoming the place to take the annual family picture. You spoke to thousands of visitors and distributed over 6900 archaeology brochures, 755 copies of American Archaeology magazine and 765 back issues of Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine.  You also handed out, 1435 Planetarium tickets, 498 Archaeology Month posters and 1548 tattoos. These were especially important in promoting the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the State Museum and the Heritage Foundation.

The Farm Show presentation is a great way to advance the goals of our respective agencies and organizations. For most, if not all of us, this event represents the most intensive interaction with the public that we have all year. Our primary goal is to promote the archaeology of the Commonwealth and visitation to the State Museum. However, it is also an opportunity to share highlights of Pennsylvania archaeology with our fellow citizens and to promote membership in the Heritage Foundation and the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. 


PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery enjoying the hands-on corn grinding activity


Pennsylvania has an outstanding wealth of archaeological resources that we believe can enhance the lives of all citizens.  Our exhibit on the archaeology of Susquehannock Indians and the information you disseminated was one step in communicating this heritage to the people of Pennsylvania.  This year, we felt the public had some knowledge of this Indian tribe and our conversations were much more interactive.

 As you know, the archaeology of Pennsylvania is being destroyed at an ever-increasing rate. We need help in slowing this destruction.  We feel the Farm Show exhibit represents a significant vehicle for the dissemination of information and for increasing the public’s awareness of the threats to their archaeological resources. 

We are very interested in everyone’s comments on how to improve the Farm Show presentation, so please send us your thoughts.  We have not picked a topic for next year’s Workshops or the Farm Show so if you have suggestions, please let us know.

Thank you again. 

            The staff of the Section of Archaeology, the State Museum of Pennsylvania 

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

Friday, January 4, 2019

103rd Pennsylvania FARM SHOW 2019


It’s January and the start of a new year for us at the State Museum of Pennsylvania and we are excited about all the great programs coming up this year. We start off every January with our trip to the largest indoor agricultural fair in the United States! Held each year right here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This event draws hundreds of thousands of visitors and our booth is visited by about 40,000 of those visitors! That’s a lot of interest in archaeology and our cultural heritage.

Our exhibit theme this year is “Discovering the Susquehannock Indians”.  The focus is on tracing the cultural evolution of the Susquehannocks of central Pennsylvania covering the period from just before European Contact, (AD 1500), through the period of Conestoga Town (AD 1763). The exhibit features four large panels and two cases of artifacts which provide an overview of the transition from Native made goods to a reliance on European trade goods. One exhibit case contains a sample of pre-European Contact artifacts and the other contains a sample of Susquehannock artifacts from the Contact period obtained from Europeans. The panels and supporting artifacts, demonstrate a culture in transition and the impact of European influences on their lifeways.

European contact significantly impacted the Susquehannocks and other Indian groups living in the region. The introduction of diseases, conflict with other Indian tribes competing for the fur trade with the European, and the invasion of the land by the English, Dutch and Swedes on their territories greatly reduced the populations of Susquehannocks and the other Indian tribes.  Up until about 1660, the Susquehannock’s controlled trade with the Europeans. However, disease and competition with other Indians forced them to seek refuge with the English in the Chesapeake Bay area. By 1680, they returned to their former homeland but this time as refugees. Their native lifeways were replaced by European traditions. At the end of the French and Indian War, they were massacred by a group of vigilantes from the Harrisburg area. Their story is one shared by many Indian tribes along the east coast.

                 The artifacts selected for this exhibit offer tangible evidence of the changes described above. Early Susquehannock clay pottery, bone and stone tools, smoking pipes and bone ornaments are later supplemented or replaced by trade goods such as brass kettles, glass beads, kaolin smoking pipes and stylized Susquehannock pottery. This change includes a transition from a traditional long house to a log cabin type structure.  This is a fascinating story of change and adaptation by Indian groups who encountered Europeans and how they dealt with this cultural impact on their lifeways.

                As in years past, the dugout canoe will be at the Farm Show for the children to sit in and imagine paddling down the rivers of Pennsylvania in prehistoric times. The dugout canoe is our WOW artifact and it draws a lot of interested folks to our booth.  It is a replica of a dugout canoe that is on exhibit at the museum. The original canoe was found in Luzerne County and has been preserved to insure its longevity. It radio carbon dates to about 800 years ago, well before European contact. Our replica is a 20 ft. long, white pine canoe that has navigated the Susquehanna River and Gifford Pinchot Lake. Sitting in this massive canoe and imagining yourself on a river or lake is a unique experience- not one that you can do every day.

Our booth includes an opportunity to grind corn using a pestle and stone mortar, much the same as Indians would have done. The process is popular with young and old alike and gives you a sense of the labor involved in making cornbread. The Susquehannocks were drawn to the lower Susquehanna valley not only for its location on the river and Chesapeake Bay, but also for the rich fertile soils that supported agriculture during the Late Woodland period.

Visitors often ask what we do when we aren’t out digging at Fort Hunter. Here is your opportunity to win a Behind the Scenes Tour of our lab. A one hour guided tour of the lab and gallery with a curator is a rare chance to see our research, observe the artifact processing labs and chat with our archaeologists. Be sure to enter your name for this drawing while visiting our Farm Show exhibit.  The American Archaeology s and Pennsylvania Heritage magazines are popular and free to our visitors along with the archaeology brochures developed over the years in connection with our research and exhibits. In addition, visitors can purchase a few of our publications- including Native Americans in Contemporary Pennsylvania by Troy Richardson, The Tutelo Spirit Adoption Ceremony by Frank Speck, and Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians by Gladys Tantaquidgeon  - $2.00 each or three for $5.00.

            Everyone loves the food court and the wonderful potato donuts, fresh cut fries, breaded mushrooms, maple syrup ice cream, beef sandwiches, chicken tenders, and the famous milk shakes. What the food court offers is a look at all of the great products our farmers grow in Pennsylvania. We are so fortunate to have a strong farming heritage and we need to support our farmers. The buy local initiative is important to their survival and farm land preservation provides countless benefits to the commonwealth.  This show offers visitors a tiny slice of the farming industry that employs nearly half a million people and contributes $185 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy every year. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of our Farm Show exhibit and that you will visit our booth located along the McClay street side of the Farm Show building. The period of interaction between the first Europeans and native peoples was a complex time of cultural change and an important period in the development of our Commonwealth. If you’d like to learn more about the Susquehannocks we encourage you to refer to the references below and visit the Anthropology and Archaeology gallery of The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Visitors to our museum can view some of the spectacular trade objects referenced in this blog and gain a sense of the importance of preserving our past for the future.

Additional Reading
Kent, Barry C.
2001    Susquehanna’s Indians. Anthropology Series Number 6. Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Commission. Harrisburg.

Kraft, Herbert C.

2001    The Lenape-Delaware Heritage: 10,000 BC to AD 2000. Lenape Books
For more information, visit PAarchaeology.state.pa.us or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .