Friday, January 13, 2012

Archaeology Exhibit at the Farmshow

We were assisted in staffing of our exhibt by twenty-two volunteers! We could'nt have done it without them.


WOW!” “That’s Huge!” “Is this real?” “Does it float?”  “How old is this?” “What kind of wood is this?”
(some of the remarks and questions we received this week from our 25,000 + visitors.)
This has been a very busy week for us at the 96th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. The official website of the Farm Show indicates that attendance is up 40% over last year and that there are record crowds learning about Pennsylvania’s rich agricultural heritage!

 The exhibit has been well received and we’ve spoken with about 25,000 visitors from young to old so far this week. We have shared our message of the value of archaeology with everyone that passed through and had some rewarding exchanges with the public.  The replica dugout canoe is once again our big hit and children of all ages love climbing in and pretending they are in another place in time for just a few minutes.

Young and old alike enjoy the dugout!

 Bob Winters continues to intrigue the crowd with his flint knapping skills and colorful 18th century Native American regalia.  
Flint knappers Bob Winters and Brad Miller answering visitors questions.

Our exhibit on Native American Foodways presents the tools used by our earliest peoples 16,000 years ago through the Woodland period roughly five-hundred years ago.  Many of our visitors are amazed that we have such a long history of peoples in Pennsylvania and that Native Americans played such an important role in the development of agriculture. 

One of two exhibit cases of artifacts from The State Museum of Pennsylvania in our display.

Noel Strattan answers questions for our young visitors.

 Looking at the huge gasoline powered tractors of today and comparing this to the digging stick of the Woodland period, one has to marvel at the change in technology.  The evolution of foodways has seen us progress from the hunters and gatherers of the ice age when populations were very low, to a more structured society where labor is divided and food production increases.  Much of this increase in food production is the result of increased farming activities by Native peoples by developing cultigens, many of which are important food sources today.

The official theme designated by the Department of Agriculture for the Farm Show this year is from Farm Gate to Dinner Plate which parallels our theme and takes visitors from the family farm to the table. 

Cornucopia of vegetables illustrating the abundance of produce grown in Pennsylvania.
Whether you are growing food for your own home or are one of the major growers of produce in Pennsylvania, the pattern of producing crops to sustain our society is fundamental to our survival.  Local farm stands supply many of us with the fruits and vegetables we enjoy, mushrooms, apples, corn, grapes,  and the list goes on for these foods which not only contribute to our diet but also to the economy of Pennsylvania.

Prize winning squash & pumpkin

Apples are one of the crops that provide an important contribution to Pennsylvania's economy.

We hope you have enjoyed the blogs over the past month documenting our journey through the development of Native American Foodways in Pennsylvania and ultimately the development of agriculture.  If you haven’t checked out our exhibit at the Farm Show, we are still there through Saturday, January 14th, at 6:00 pm.  Come out and celebrate what farming and agriculture has contributed to your heritage.

Below are additional photographs of the fun our visitors had enjoying our replica of a Native American dugout.




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

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