Thursday, October 27, 2022

PATHWAYS TO THE PAST: 2022 Workshops in Archaeology

It’s that time of year again, October is Archaeology Month and that means it’s time for the Annual Workshops in Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, this year we are live for the first time since 2019.  That’s right, live at The State Museum of Pennsylvania on October 29, 2022, so join us as we travel the ‘Pathways to the Past’. 

This year’s presentations will discuss not only the physical paths, portages, and trade routes that traverse Pennsylvania’s mountains and valleys, but also the less tangible and often hidden paths of the Underground Railroad, a pathway to freedom traveled by many formerly enslaved peoples.  Archaeology will be used as a tool to reveal actual paths traveled by indigenous people over thousands of years; and how those paths developed through time.  These Precontact footpaths and trails evolved into trade routes and eventually into many of the roadways we use today.

There will also be presentations at the Workshops discussing how examining these many routes across Pennsylvania have aided in examining settlement patterns from the Precontact period into the historic period. The untold stories of marginalized people who discovered their heritage through discovery and archaeology are sharing these often-unheard stories and preserving them for future generations. By bringing these stories together the process creates a tapestry of Pennsylvania’s collective heritage.

This program provides an opportunity to engage with scholars who have researched these pathways, observe the use of lithics often traded along these routes and to learn about the community preservation efforts of formerly enslaved descendants.  Unfortunately, the early registration period has already closed, but walk-in registration is available at the 3rd Street entrance The State Museum of Pennsylvania on Saturday beginning at 8:30 am.

The program is as follows:

9:10 – 9:25 Janet Johnson, Acting Senior Curator of the Section of Archaeology, The State Museum of Pennsylvania with opening remarks

9:30 – 10:00 Darrin Lowery PH.D. -Trade, Migration, or Both: Delmarva Adena-Hopewell

10:00 – 10:30 Andrew Myers, MA, RPA, Marienville Ranger District. Allegheny National Forest -The Search for the Ephemeral Feature Type: A Look at Some Potential Native America Travel Routes on the Allegheny Plateau. 

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:30 Chuck Williams, PH.D., RPA, Williams Ecological, LLC. -The Venango Path: History, Archaeology, and Environment

11:30 – 12:00 Kenneth Burkett, Executive Director, Jefferson County History Center, Field Associate, Carnegie Museum – “Over the Hump”: Portages and Pathways into Western PA

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 2:00 Matthew March, Education Director, Cumberland County Historical Society -The Underground Railroad through Cumberland County

2:00 – 2:30 Carmen James, Mt. Tabor Preservation Project -Mt. Tabor AME Church Preservation

2:30 – 3:00 Break

3:00 – 3:30 Kate Peresolak, MA., RPA, Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps (PAOC) Cultural Resources Crew (CRC) Leader, The Student Conservation Association -CCC Company 361-C, S-62 PA: Exploratory Archaeology at Penn Roosevelt State Park

3:30 – 4:00 Panel Discussion, Questions and Discussion with the presenters and Closing Remarks

4:00 – 4:45 Reception

In addition to the presentations, David Burke and James Herbstritt, from the Section of Archaeology, will be available during the breaks for artifact identification.  Find out what that ‘Whatsit’ really is or isn’t.  Noël Strattan and Casey Hanson from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will also be available during the breaks to assist with recording archaeological sites in PA-SHARE. Steve Nissly will also be demonstrating and sharing his knowledge as an expert flint knapper with attendees, as well as displaying examples of his talented craft.

Immediately following the presentation there will be a panel discussion and a participatory question-and-answer session with the presenters.  The day will conclude with an informal reception including light snacks and a chance to socialize with others interested in Pennsylvania’s past.

For additional information, please check out the link at The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s website. 

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

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