Saturday, September 12, 2020

Archaeology Month Virtual Events… Announcing virtual Archaeology Workshop Speaker Series in October

Traditionally at this time of year our blog is full of the numerous Section of Archaeology public outreach programs scheduled in the fall to celebrate Archaeology month in October. Our excitement is so hard to contain that in a “typical” year our events start a month early at the Kipona festival in Harrisburg over Labor Day weekend. They pick up steam at our yearly excavation at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Dauphin County. And culminate in late October or early November at our Annual Workshops in Archaeology. 

It almost goes without saying the pandemic has altered our plans for in-person outreach this year. We continue to turn limitations on social gathering into opportunities to grow our on-line presence and find creative solutions to reach wider audiences. In lieu of the Workshops in Archaeology, we are announcing a virtual Speaker Series the first 4 Fridays in October at 12 Noon. 

Sessions will be presented over Zoom and are free, but registration is required. Once you are registered, attendees will receive an attendance link and password for all of the sessions listed. Please visit the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation to register.

2020 Archaeology Month Poster. PDF available for download!

2020 Archaeology Month Poster. PDF available for download!

We also invite you to explore additional virtual learning content at The State Museum and visit or online collections.


This October for Archaeology month, the Museum’s Archaeology Section will present a virtual Learn at Lunchtime speaker series focusing on The Delaware Indians: Then and Now.  

Over 12,000 years ago at the Shawnee-Minisink site in Pennsylvania, the first people in the Delaware Valley left behind stone tools, evidence of their existence, in the archaeological record. 
It is not known when the Delaware Indian culture/language group began to develop/emerge within the region. The Delaware culture may have very old roots in the region, or it may be the result of a migration of people into the region within the past several millennia. 

Fast forward to 500 years ago. The historic Lenape, also called the Leni Lenape, Lenni Lenape and Delaware people lived year-round in matrilineally organized hamlet communities and villages ranging from the Delaware and Lower Hudson River Valleys to the Atlantic Coast. In 1638, one of the first recorded land treaties was negotiated for the settlement of New Sweden between five Lenape chiefs and Peter Minuit of Sweden for a tract of land approximately seventy-seven miles long in the Lower Delaware River. By the 1700s, European colonial encroachment had displaced almost all Lenape from their native lands. Most remaining Delaware tribe members living in the United States were pushed and pulled further west eventually to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, under the Indian Removal Act in the 1860s. 

The four presentations planned for this year’s Workshops will cover the archaeological evidence of the evolution of Indian culture in the Delaware Valley. Our notable speakers will address the issue of possible origins; the history of the Delaware and their interactions with Europeans; the nature of Delaware culture today and their plans for the repatriation of Delaware human remains and sacred objects. 

Please join us in an educational series to learn more about the cultural history of the Native people of the Delaware Valley and where they are today.  

Presentations will start at 12 Noon with a brief introduction given by Dr. Kurt Carr, Sr Curator of Archaeology and the featured speaker will last approximately 20 minutes with time for question and answer. 

1)  Friday, October 2 - The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Upper Delaware 
     Dr. Roger Moeller, Archaeological Services 
This presentation will identify the Paleoindian, Archaic, Transitional, and Woodland periods at specific archeological sites with their artifacts, excavation and analytical techniques, and major findings. Given major advances in technology, the potential for future research questions will be detailed and discussed. 

2) Friday, October 9 - The Contact Period in New Jersey: An Archaeological Perspective 
        Dr. Gregory D. Lattanzi, Curator, New Jersey State Museum

New Jersey has long benefited from being an early player in the field of contact period archaeology. Starting in the early decades of the 16th century, New Jersey's Original People bore witness to the arrival of countless immigrants - the Swedes, Dutch and English, all who claimed religious and political authority over a land that was not theirs. Through this clash of cultures, we are fortunate to have documentary, archaeological, and ethnographic resources from which to reconstruct many vignettes. When strung together along with understanding the many contextual issues, we hope individual scenes provide a clearer picture of Native American life.

3) Friday, October 16 - History of the Delaware Indians in the Middle Atlantic Region
        Dr. Jean Soderlund, Professor of History Emeritus, Lehigh University (confirmed)

As Dutch, Swedes, Finns, and English arrived in the region that became Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey during the seventeenth century, Lenape’s sought reciprocal relationships for trade and mutual alliance. They remained a sovereign people, protecting personal and religious liberty, while avoiding violence when possible through peaceful conflict resolution

4) Friday, October 23 - The Delaware Indians - Where they are now? 
        Dr. Brice Obermeyer, Director, Delaware Historic Preservation 

       Lenape Relocation Histories: Understanding the Lenape Diaspora

This workshop will focus on the events and factors that led to the multiple removals of most Lenape people from the Delaware Valley.  An emphasis will be placed on the factors that pushed and pulled the Lenape out of the region to their current locations throughout the United States and Canada. The workshop will make regular use of digital maps to follow the multiple Lenape migrations west over time and to discuss the impact of these relocations in the past and today. 


Online References for Further Reading

Official Site of the Delaware Tribe of Indians / About The Tribe, 2020.


Official site of the Delaware Nation/

Pennsylvania Archaeology / Contact Period. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Archived September 10, 2015.


This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology / Delaware County. The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology, July 27, 2012.


Wikipedia / Lenape / Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma/ Delaware Nation of Oklahoma/ Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Wisconsin, / Munsee-Delaware Nation of Ontario / Moraviantown of the Thames First Nation of Ontario / Delaware of the Six Nations, Ontario. 2020.



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

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