Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Charles L. Lucy - A True Citizen Scientist

The public is fascinated with archaeology and stories of arrowheads and broken pieces of pottery found in their own backyards. They want to know what it all means and who were the people who made these objects? Reading about past civilizations, attending lectures, volunteering for field projects, finding artifacts, and even experimenting with making and using artifacts from the past are all part of the romance of archaeology. Many people enjoy it as a hobby. 

Charles L. Lucy was a talented amateur or avocational archaeologist interested in all aspects of archaeology, but he also conducted research and published his findings. Charles L. Lucy was a toolmaker Ingersoll-Rand in Athens, Pennsylvania, but also a talented avocational archaeologist for more than 60 years.  He was born February 22, 1922 and died on June 29, 2003, at the age of 81.  Charles, or Chuck as he was known to many, was mentored under Dr. Elise Murray of the Tioga Point Museum in Athens, PA (read more about Dr. Murray in our blog from January 2020 by clicking the link).  He was a member of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a regional representative of the Section of Archaeology, a member of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, an editor for Eastern States Archaeological Federation, a member of the New York State Archaeology Association, and a member of the Tioga Point Museum.  One of his most notable traits is that he was not only extremely interested in archaeology, but he also published his findings (see list of publications below), especially in the journal Pennsylvania Archaeologist, where you can read many of his articles.

Chucks passion for archaeology and the rich archaeological resources along the Chemung and Susquehannock Rivers led to countless excavations and research. Chuck’s interest in Susquehannock pottery, especially from the upper Susquehanna Valley was a focus of his research and led to multiple journal articles and presentations. His attention to detail in his analysis drew the attention of former State Archaeologist, John Witthoft who was interested in the area and research of Proto-Susquehannock culture attributes.  Chuck Lucy participated in excavations at numerous sites with John Witthoft and later Barry Kent. These sites include Kennedy site (36Br43), Blackman site (36Br83) and the Sick site (36Br50). Witthoft examined the Lucy collection from the Sick site for his research and publication of Susquehannock Miscellany in 1959.  Lucy’s significant contributions to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) knowledge base of sites on the upper Susquehanna River and the Chemung River Valley are indispensable.

Charles Lucy excavating at the Kennedy Site with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology in 1983
Charles Lucy excavating at the Kennedy Site with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology in 1983 

When he passed, his family very generously donated his vast library to The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Section of Archaeology library.  Unfortunately, our busy schedules while working in the office have prevented us from doing much with cataloging and organizing this most generous donation. Thanks to the quarantine (something not often said) and tele-working I have had the privilege, as one of my tasks, of working with the more than 1400 books, journals, maps, personal correspondence, and other materials that made up his library.  Most of the material centers on archaeology and anthropological topics, especially northern Pennsylvania and southern New York. It is clear Chuck had many interests, including religious texts, children’s books, general literature, and the natural world.  The titles span from Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines from 1881 thru Yankee, The Magazine of New England Living in 2003; providing over a century’s worth of cultural information.  The wonderful condition of these materials demonstrate that they were of great importance to him.  All were signed by him and many include the date and place of purchase.  There are also many that were signed by their authors with notes about the friendship held between the author and Mr. Lucy.  Charles Lucy was a wonderful asset to Pennsylvania archaeology and his library is a true treasure.  It has been a very interesting task that I have been honored to work with this legacy left in our care. 

This addition to our research library is a wonderful asset that will benefit our research of the collections we curate and also of benefit to researchers who access our collections or as we respond to inquiries and emails regarding archaeological collections from the region.  We thank our many donors who have so generously entrusted us with their collections and continue to share these  donations through our blogs and our online collections.  

Research Library
Research Library 

A sample of publications by Charles L. Lucy


Lucy, Charles

1950                  Notes on a Small Andaste Burial Site and Andaste Archaeology. Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 20(3-4):55-62.


1959                  Pottery Types of the Upper Susquehanna. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 29(1):28-37.


1971                  Pottery Types of the Upper Susquehanna. In Foundations of Pennsylvania Prehistory,

            edited by Barry C.  Kent, Ira F. Smith, and Catherine McCann, pp. 381-392.

            Anthropological Series, No. 1, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,



1991a                The Owasco Culture: An Update. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 7:147-168.


1991b               The Tioga Point Farm Sites 36BR3 and 36BR52:1983 Excavations. Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 61(1):1-18.


Lucy, Charles L., and Catherine McCann

1983                  The Wells Site, Asylum Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania

            Archaeologist 53(3)1-12.


Lucy, Charles L. & Richard J. McCracken

1985                  Blackman Site (36BR83): A Proto-Susquehannock Village. Pennsylvania Archaeologist



Lucy, Charles L. and Leroy Vanderpoel

1979                  The Tioga Point Farm Site. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 49(1-2):1-12


This week we feature a true citizen scientist. For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

No comments:

Post a Comment