This week we are pleased to feature Chester County, Pennsylvania as our TWIPA blog. Chester County is located in extreme southeastern Pennsylvania. It is surrounded by Lancaster, Montgomery and Delaware counties. The Brandywine drainage cross cuts this section of the Piedmont physiographic province. Other water systems border on the county’s north side and form part of the Schuylkill River Valley. As of January 1, 2012 there are 920 recorded archaeological sites in Chester County with the vast majority Archaic in age.
Broadly speaking, this was the homeland of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians. According to “A Map of 18th Century Indian Towns in Pennsylvania” (Kent et al 1981: Table 1) six of their settlements were located in Chester County: Okehocking, Queonemysing and four others, whose Delaware names are not known. Colonial documents identify these settlements as being variously occupied from the 1690’s to the 1730’s when William Penn was beginning to establish a foothold in the land we call Pennsylvania. This peaceful relationship between the Natives and Europeans was short lived. It was not long before the Delaware began a long migration westward to a place now called Oklahoma, where their descendents live to this day. The principal route used in this relocation was through central Pennsylvania where the Delaware established temporary settlements along the Susquehanna’s West Branch and on into the Ohio country.
In terms of archaeological sites we are most fortunate to have a large database established for much of the county, especially for the central and western sections of the Brandywine and West Brandywine Creeks. An incredible number of Native American artifacts spanning the period from Paleo-Indian through the 18th century have been found along these drainages. One of these enormous collections is curated at The State Museum of Pennsylvania where it is maintained for research and exhibition purposes.
Notes taken by the Dutts proclaiming the 7,000th "dart" found
Redware artifacts recovered from 36Ch687
Handpainted Pearlware and a glass bottle recovered from 36CH687
We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Chester County archaeology and encourage you to visit us next time, on our journey to Save the Past for the Future.
Affleck, R.M., D. Eichinger, J. Moore, M. Scheerer, B. Springstead, B. Seidel, J. Harbison,G. Miller, K. Bieling,M. Janowitz, A. Eichinger, M. Pipes and L. Raymer
2004 Life on the Periphery: Data Recovery Investigations of the Wilson Tract Site (36CH687), Circa 1780-1820. URS Corporation. Report prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Engineering District 6-0 and Federal Highway Administration
Kent, B. C., J. Rice and K. Ota
1981 A Map of 18th Century Indian Towns in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 51(4):1-18.
For more information, visit PAarchaeology.state.pa.us or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .