Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Power of Women

March is designated as Women’s History Month; thus, it seems appropriate to explore the role of women in our archaeological and cultural heritage.  While it is important to have a focus on significant women in our past and present, a woman is much more than a historic figure to honor once a year.  In some Native American society's women are viewed as the giver of life and Mother Earth as the giver of all things on the earth. She is a sacred figure and has garnered respect and acknowledgement of her significance.  

Native American tribes such as the Lenape (Delaware) and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois and Tuscarora) are matrilineal societies instead of the typical patrilineal societies from Europe. Meaning that you descended from your mother’s clan, not your father’s. It also meant that women were involved in the decision-making process for the greater good of the tribe. 

Nora Thompson Dean (left) and Lucy Parks, 1977.

Image courtesy of Jim Rementer, Delaware Tribe of Indians

Nora Thompson Dean was a member of the Delaware Tribe of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and an important keeper of their cultural heritage. Nora wrote about the role of Delaware women in a matrilineal society stating, “the children belong to the clan or group of the mother, and therefore, even if one was the son or daughter of a chief, they would not be a prince or princess as was the case with European royalty. The successor to the chieftaincy was the chief’s sister’s son, or the nearest male relative to the chief within the same clan. This gave women a powerful voice in tribal matters, but in spite of this ‘voice,’ it was the tradition for women to not speak out at public gatherings such as councils.” (

In Haudenosaunee culture (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora) the chief and clan mother share leadership roles. The clan mother chooses and advises the chief, placing and holding him in office. The clan mother also has the responsibility of removing a chief who doesn’t listen to the people and make good decisions, giving due consideration to seven generations in the future. To be chosen as a chief, the man cannot be a warrior (since it is a confederacy based on peace), nor can he have ever stolen anything or abused a woman. Women live free of fearing violence from men. The spiritual belief in the sacredness of women and the earth — the mutual creators of life — make abuse almost unthinkable. 

Indigenous women planting gardens, Image courtesy of Herbert Kraft

Not unlike the Native Americans who lived here when Europeans began arriving in North America, settler women were often responsible for domestic chores- cooking, cleaning, gardening, and raising children.  Each group practiced their methods of planting and harvesting- often embedded in their cultural practices of following celestial signs, seasonal change, and traditional stories.  Haudenosaunee gardening of corn, beans and squash are commonly identified as the three sisters- significant for their ability to grow together in mounds of soil.  Nora Dean describes the Delaware practice of cooking as done with intent- “we think that the person’s mind when they are cooking has something to do with the health of the ones who eat the food. The cook must be in a good frame of mind during the  food preparation, not angry, or ill, and have an inside prayer to the Creator that what she prepares will bring strength and happiness to the consumer of the food”.

How often have we heard the expressions made with love, homemade is best, lovin from the oven, or my favorite- no one makes it like my mom. Recipes that have been handed down through multiple generations don’t have a byline to “make while in a good frame of mind” but the act of cooking heritage dishes by women is a powerful expression of cultural traditions. The consumption of these dishes connects families to the past and to memories of the ancestors who shared the recipes and traditions for future generations.

A mother’s words are often the first that a child hears. The significance of language to the Indigenous community in retaining their cultural heritage has been an important initiative for many women.  Nora Thompson Dean worked with Jim Rementer in recording and developing the Lenape Talking Dictionary.  Francine Patterson (1952-2020), a previous clan mother of the Tuscarora learned the language from elders, she later recorded the language to develop a comprehensive Tuscarora dictionary. The work of these women and other members of the Native American tribal community are working to preserve their language and culture for future generations. Teaching children their native language is important in identifying with their heritage and is a practice continued today by cultures around the world. 

Francine Patterson, of the Tuscarora Nation sharing cultural heritage with a class of high school students. Image from the collection of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Women in Indigenous cultures made pottery from clay, sand, shell, and grit; all by hand while teaching their daughters the craft and skill required to make a cooking or storage vessel.  They cleaned and scraped animal hides to sew garments, gathered reeds and grasses to make baskets, collected fruits and nuts in addition to tending gardens and they were the caretakers of the elders. The definition of multi-tasking was unknown to them, but their tenacity gave them the ability to do all these tasks.

Native American pottery. Image from the collections of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.

This same tenacity has been demonstrated by women from all cultures and times. Farm laborers and domestics became the factory workers of the Industrial era.  Women working in the mills were controlled by company rules and long hours of work at minimal wages. These are the women who led the way for labor laws, voting rights, and access to advanced education.  Sacrifices of those before us opened up opportunities to be mechanics, soldiers, fire fighters and scientists. Women are clan mothers, union leaders, caregivers, teachers, and librarians whose contributions to society are heralded.  Some of these women are among those highlighted in the many articles surrounding Women’s History Month, but of equal significance are the autonomous women, often silent, who continuously labor to preserve their heritage and cultural traditions.  

Archaeologists examine the artifacts of the past- broken pottery, hide scrapers, porcelain dish fragments, canning jars, and sewing implements as items of material culture to aid in interpreting daily activities of the people who made or used these objects. As such, we look for patterns of distribution to examine movement across the landscape, we search for changes in technology- shape or size of a projectile point, temper or design of the pottery, dietary remains- all tools for reconstructing the past. Examining these remains, the tangible evidence of past cultures, and putting them in the proper context can be challenging. Making the connection to their cultural significance often relies on the keepers of cultural heritage. Thank you to the women of the world who continue to practice your cultural traditions and share your knowledge with others.   We hope you’ve enjoyed this post in celebration of women and invite you to visit our Women of Archaeology blogs on this site as well as the on-line collections of The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.



Kraft, Herbert C.

1983      The Lenape, Archaeology, History, and Ethnography. New Jersey Historical Society.

Parker, Arthur C.

1989      Seneca Myths and Folk Tales. Introduction by William C. Fenton. Lincoln: University of Nebraska                                    Press.

Snow, Dean R.

1994       The Iroquois (Peoples of America). Blackwell Publishers, Malden.


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

Monday, March 6, 2023


This week in Pennsylvania Archaeology is revisiting an earlier discussion of bannerstones, an enigmatic artifact type for sure. They appear in the Eastern Woodlands of North America during the Middle Atlantic period (9,000 - 6,000 years ago) and are most commonly found through the Late Archaic/Transitional period (6,000 - 4,300 years ago). They were made in a multitude of (Knoblock, 1939) shapes. From a variety of lithic materials and share a general symmetry and often are drilled through the center. There are several theories as to their use and function for the Indigenous peoples who crafted them.

The name bannerstone comes from Dr. C. C. Abbott who put forth the theory in the early 20th century that they may have been used during ceremonies as banners or like standards. Abbott suggested this because they are centrally drilled, as if to be placed on a handle, and most are highly polished, demonstrating a great deal of craftsmanship and effort. In support of this hypothesis, a cache of three bannerstones were discovered in 1908 by chance while plowing a field in North Carolina. They wereattached to a staff, which was decorated with rings, precisely fitting the drilled holes of the bannerstones (Baer, 1921).

Another theory is that they were used as weights on the end of a throwing stick or atlatl. Excavations conducted during the 1930’s under the WPA (Works Projects Administration) by William S. Webb, from the University of Kentucky at the Indian Knoll site recovered 42 bannerstones including “elements of throwing sticks know as atlatls” (Blume 2021).

It is suggested that adding the weight of the bannerstone to the atalatl , increased the velocity of the spear that was thrown, as pictured above. Subsequent research has questioned the weighted atlatl as having little to no additional benefit.

Yet another theory is that they were used as a spindle whorl in the production of twine or cordage. . Suspended fibers could be attached to the bannerstone spindle which could then be spun to consolidate t the fibers creating twine. The winged shape would make the spinning an easy action.

The Archaeology collections of The State Museum of Pennsylvania contain hundreds of complete and fragmented bannerstones. As some of our ardent followers may recall Sam Azzaro, a 2014 intern from Dickinson College worked with some of our bannerstones creating a detailed inventory that included descriptions, weights, and measurements. He blogged about his research on January 30, 2015. A subsequent intern Naomi Ulmer created a similar database with our axe collection. She was able to build on the bannerstone data by including 25 bannerstones with the many axes that she and former Senior Curator Dr. Kurt Carr and Dr. Robert Smith, Pennsylvania Geological Survey analyzed, to determine lithic types for both axes and bannerstones. Of those analyzed the majority were made of serpentine, a metamorphic rock composed of various minerals, as a result it can appear in many colors, but the eastern variety is often tan or beige (Carr, 2015).

Blackwall is an igneous rock that transformed over time, becoming a form of serpentine schist.

Greywackes are characteristically hard, dark gray-green coarse-grained sandstone.

Hornblende is a metamorphic rock with a high silica content.

Steatite is a very soft, metamorphic stone often referred to as soapstone.

Other anomalies of the bannerstones include the question of why so many are found with incompletely drilled holes. Sometimes the appearance is of a clearly unfinished bannerstone, so not being drilled is understandable, but in many cases the artifact appears “finished” and is highly polished but exhibits only a partially drilled hole. Approximately 32 percent of the bannerstones analyzed by Sam Azzaro were either not drilled or only partially drilled.

Many of the bannerstone fragments recovered feature intentionally drilled holes in the wings. These may be repair holes to rebind the broken pieces back together. Were the bannerstones special beyond

their function? Their significance may have been so important that even after they broke, they were redrilled and reused as pendants, sinew, or tally stones.

Broken wing from a bannerstone with 2 drill holes. Image from the collection of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Drilled bannerstone fragment, image from the collections of The State Museum of Pennsylvania

As with so many things, especially archaeology, the more we learn the more questions we have and clearly many questions remain about this enigmatic artifact, the bannerstone.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog and will continue to visit us as we highlight the collections of The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology. We invite you to view additional pieces from our collections.

Baer, John Leonard         1921       A Preliminary Report on the So-Called “Bannerstones”. American Anthropologist 23(4):445-459.

Blume, Anna                      2021 Bannerstones, an Introduction. Smarthistory, accessed 2/24/2023

Carr, Kurt                             2015       Analysis Notes

Herbstritt, James              2023       Personal Communication

Knoblock, Byron               1939       Bannerstones of the North American Indian. Self-published, LaGrange, Illinois

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Put a Lid on It: Canning Jar Closures in Pennsylvania’s Archaeological Record

While home canning has recently seen a rise in popularity, its peak was during the mid-20th century. Promoted as an economical way to make produce available throughout the cold winter months, home canning was a common household practice that has been frequently recorded in the archaeological record of historic domestic sites. Historically, Pennsylvania has been an important center for glass manufacture due to its richness in natural resources, and several canning jar and lid manufactures had production centers within the state. The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Section of Archaeology curates archaeological collections from across Pennsylvania, including many examples of home canning supplies recovered from archaeological contexts. Due to the fragility of the glass containers, the most frequent examples of complete items from the archaeological record are the glass lids or lid liners that were used to seal the glass jars.  

The story of home canning begins in 1795 when Napoleon Bonaparte (yes, that one) offered a reward for a new method of preserving food with the intent that it help provision French troops while at sea. Nicholas Appert, a French inventor, and scientist won the award in 1809, launching a new era in food preservation. His work can be found published as The book for all households; or, The art of preserving animal and vegetable substances for many years.

During World War I and World War II, advertising campaigns promoted home gardening and canning to supplement wartime rations and to make the best use of household victory gardens. The classic 1948 children’s book Blueberries for Sal calls to mind the adventures of young Sal as she accompanies her mother to collect blueberries for canning.

This 1918 poster was created by Leonebel Jacobs for the National War Garden Commission to promote home gardening and food preservation during World War I.

Early canning jars utilized corks or wax seals. They were difficult to seal and prone to spoilage, leading to illness or death for those with the misfortune of consuming the contaminated contents. A major advancement to canning jar technology came when John L. Mason of New York patented the Mason Jar in 1858.

Below are a few of the canning jar styles that have been identified at archaeological sites in Pennsylvania.

This Ball Perfect Mason jar (left) would have been sealed with a rubber gasket (visible), a glass lid liner (right), and a metal screw top lid (not shown). (photos: The State Museum of Pennsylvania)

The Ball Mason jar can probably be considered the quintessential canning jar, although the lids have undergone some improvements. The white milk glass lid liners shown above would have been placed inside a solid metal lid and accompanied by a rubber gasket. Unlike today’s canning jars, these solid metal lids remained in place when the jar was stored. The jar shown here dates to between 1910 and 1923. The dates for Ball Mason jars can be determined by the style in which the word “Ball” is depicted. The small lid (upper right), manufactured by the Hero Fruit Jar Co. in Philadelphia, was made between 1884 and 1909.

These lids were used with lightning style closures. The raised area atop the lid provided a place for the wire closure to securely rest. (left photo: public domain, right photo: The State Museum of Pennsylvania. 

Jars with a lightning closure also called “wire bail type” used a hinged wire to firmly hold the lid to the jar with a rubber gasket used to form the seal. Although this closure had been in use on other bottle types at earlier dates, Putnam received a patent for the closure on wide-mouth jars in 1882. These jars remained popular into the 20th century.

This style of canning jar may have been used with an open-top style metal lid. The lid on the left bears a cross used by the Hero Glass Works of Philadelphia. (left photo: courtesy of John Whitley, right photo: The State Museum of Pennsylvania)

Another style of canning lid closure that was popular in the late 19th century utilized a glass lid that could be used with an open top style metal lid and resembling the metal lid rings used today. A cross, attributed to the Hero Glass Works of Philadelphia or its successor The Hero Fruit Jar Company, Pennsylvania, appears in the center of the left lid shown in the image above.  The Hero Glass Works was in operation from at least 1856-1884 before its name was changed to the Hero Fruit Jar Co, which operated until 1909.


During the late 19th and 20th centuries, several Pennsylvania glass manufacturers came and went, and frequently, companies had several regional manufacturing plants. Unfortunately, their products were not always marked in such a way that they can be definitively linked to a particular manufacturing site. What we can see from the archaeological record is the widespread popularity of home canning and the different styles of jar closures that were used over time.

We encourage you to visit the on-line collections of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to see additional examples of artifacts from Pennsylvania’s past.




Lockhart, Schriever, Lindsey et al

n.d.            Henry W. Putnam and the Lightning Fastener. Society for Historical Archaeology., accessed 2/15/2023.


n.d.            The Hero Glass Firms. Society for Historical Archaeology., accessed 2/15/2023.


United States Department of Agriculture

n.d.            Canning Timeline Table., accessed 2/15/2023.


Toulouse, Julian Harrison

1971            Bottle Makers and Their Marks. The Blackburn Press, Caldwell.


Weiskircher, Joan

2003            Hazel-Atlas: A Home-Grown Corporation. West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly, VOL. XVII, NO. 2, April, 2003., accessed 2/13/2023.

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

Monday, February 6, 2023

Late Archaic and the Panhandle Archaic complex in southwestern Pennsylvania, Veigh Collection Update

This week in Pennsylvania Archaeology (TWIPA) continues with updates from the Fred Veigh donation. Veigh’s recently cataloged site, Beck’s Hilltop (36WH0647) from Washington County will aid us in examining a southern regional cultural phenomenon in the Upper Ohio Valley. Referred to as the Panhandle Archaic complex (Mayer-Oakes 1955), it roughly dates to 3000-5000 years ago during the Mid-Holocene. It spans the tail end of the Atlantic climatic episode characterized by a warm moist environment with relatively stable meandering river conditions by 6000 BP (Vento et al. 2020). Late Archaic hunter-gatherer groups were well adapted to the temperate forest conditions throughout Pennsylvania by these times. Social adaptations to higher population levels and predictable food sources are reflected in the archaeological record by greater regionalization of projectile point types and diversity of tools used to exploit riverine and upland resources, frequent site re-use, and range of site size and function. In other words, larger extended family groups and potentially inter-family groups (bands) began gathering in predictable seasonal patterns, primarily in river valleys to use seasonally available resources more intensively. Examples include spawning fish in the spring and freshwater mollusks at low river levels and ripening wild fruit, grains, and nuts in the late summer/fall. Panhandle Archaic people returned to smaller family groups, microbands, in the winter and times of leaner resource availability. 

Adapted From: (Vento et al. 2020: Figure 1.1 (20)).

There was a climatic shift around 4300 yrs ago, called the Sub-Boreal. A warm dry climate that led to higher instances of drought punctuated by severe storms and floods. In the eastern regions of Pennsylvania, archaeologists refer to this time as the Transitional Period (2700-4300 yrs ago), defined by the presence of broadspear projectile points and steatite bowl fragments. This corresponds with an overall intensification of Late Archaic hunter-gatherer lifeways expressed as larger semi-permanent to near-permanent base camps in riverine settings from the spring through fall, then into family hunting groups in the winter. While some traditionally diagnostic Transitional sites were present in western, Pennsylvania, they are rare comparatively speaking. (Vento et al. 2020; Cowin and Neusius 2020; Carr and Moeller 2015; Carr et al. 2020)

The Panhandle Archaic complex was originally defined by archaeologist William J. Mayer-Oakes in the 1950s based on artifacts recovered from non-systematic vocational excavations at East Steubenville (46BR31), and other investigations at shell midden sites—Globe Hill (46HK34-1), New Cumberland (46HK1), and Half Moon (46BK29)—on the Ohio River in northern West Virginia. At these sites, the basic pH level of calcium carbonate in large deposits of mussel shell waste neutralized acidic soils, preserving bone artifacts and dietary remains generally lost in the archaeological record. Mayer-Oakes characterized the Panhandle Archaic complex by a series of diagnostic artifacts including Steubenville lanceolate and stemmed projectile points, three-quarter grooved round poll and pointed-poll adzes, crescent-shaped bannerstones, and stemmed bone points. Other artifacts associated with the complex, but noted as not necessarily diagnostic, were Brewerton-like side-notched projectile points, straight and expanded-base drills, plain adzes, and bone and antler tools (Mayer-Oakes, 1955).

A- Antler drifts, B- Bone notched, joint end and splinter awls, C- Bone perforated awl, D- Bone perforated stemmed point or harpoon, E- Cut, polished and perforated bear jaw, F- Bird bone bead, G- Steubenville stemmed and lanceolate projectile points, H- Side-notched projectile point, I- Steubenville lanceolate knife, J- Straight and expanded base drills, K- Bi-pitted hammerstone, L- Notched pebble net sinker, M- Pointed-poll adze, N- Core chopper, O- crescent bannerstone. Adapted From: (Carr and Moeller 2015: (101))

In the subsequent seventy years of the Upper Ohio Valley, greater regional surface surveys in southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and eastern Ohio have documented Steubenville points and knives from a variety of topographical settings that were not always associated with shell middens. These include upland sites and floodplain bottomlands, as well as the high riverine terraces generally associated with the first identified shell midden sites (Lothrop 2007; Cowin and Neusius 2020; Tippins 2020). These settlement patterns paint a broader picture of territorial range, group mobility, and provides some insight into subsistence and other targeted resource activities, like repeat visits to known stone quarry sources for Ten Mile, Uniontown, Loyalhanna, and Monongahela chert in southwestern Pennsylvania (Carr et al 2022).

Map of the Lithic Quarries Reported in Pennsylvania and Major Quarries in Adjacent States. From (Carr et al. 2020: Figure 1.3 (6))

However, large scale data recovery projects conducted in the last thirty years have deepened our understanding of Late Archaic and Transitional lifeways in the Upper Ohio River Basin. Absolute dates obtained from undisturbed contexts, data regarding diet, subsistence, technology, seasonal mobility patterns, and potential insights into intra and inter-cultural interactions through trade and exchange of resources and flow of ideas as expressed in material culture are some of the results of these investigations. This data still constitutes only a handful of Panhandle Archaic complex sites, the majority of which are multi-component and/or unstratified. There is still much research needed to better understand the Late Archaic lifeways of this region. (Carr et al. 2020; Cowin and Neusius 2020; Lothrop 2007).

Considering the distribution of Steubenville projectile points and knives in isolation, the map below depicts the range of Panhandle Archaic influence in western Pennsylvania, with the highest concentration of sites on the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela drainage systems in Beaver, Allegheny, Greene, and Washington Counties.

Distinctive Projectile Points Define the Piedmont, Laurentian, and Panhandle Archaic Traditions. From: Carr and Moeller 2015: (91)

Many archaeologists still classify the Panhandle Archaic complex as a terminal Late Archaic cultural development, influenced by the Green River Archaic complex of the Middle Ohio Valley, west-central Kentucky. Others interpret Steubenville/Panhandle Archaic complex sites dating between 3000-4300 years ago as a local and culturally distinct expression of early Transitional Period riverine adaptations in the Upper Ohio Valley (Cowin and Neusius 2020).  In some ways both ideas are true. Steubenville sites are often chronologically contemporaneous with traditionally defined early Transitional sites found in other regions of Pennsylvania, as well as showing some material culture similarities with the Green River complex shell midden sites in Kentucky. Yet the Panhandle Archaic Complex remains a distinctly local development of the southern Upper Ohio Valley.

Final analysis of the GAI Consultants data recovery at the East Steubenville and adjacent Highland Hills site (46BR60) contained overlapping Brewerton (5680-5210 BP) and Steubenville (4150-3725 BP) components. Lothrop (2007) characterized East Steubenville, as a recurrent visited habitation site where small family or extended family groups visited in the spring and late summer through fall to fish, hunt deer, process shellfish and forage for wild fruits, grains, and nuts as part of both the Brewerton and Steubenville associated seasonal round. Interestingly, overrepresentation of certain faunal remains, such as fish head and tail as well as the cranial and foot elements of deer compared to other parts, is evidence of kill site processing for consumption elsewhere. This speaks to the nature of procuring game for later use and strategic planning for group mobility. Highland Hills, lacking evidence of shell processing was defined as a short-term task-focused smaller group occupation.

Lothrop (2004; 2007) contrasts the less sedentary nature of these sites from the near-permanent shell midden occupations in the Green River Archaic complex (Marquardt and Watson 1983).  While the data is still limited and should not be determined by the East Steubenville site alone, Panhandle Archaic regional settlement patterns more closely resemble a smaller scale and more mobile Late Archaic lifeway, as it is currently understood throughout much of the Upper Ohio Valley. This is a difference from either the Green River Archaic complex to the west or contemporaneous broadspear Transitional traditions in Pennsylvania.

Beck’s Hilltop is a multi-component upland site surface collected by Fred Veigh in the 1970s and ‘80s. Located a hard day or more hike southeast of East Steubenville near Wylandville, Pennsylvania, it overlooks Little Chartiers Creek in the Chartiers watershed between the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers. Late Archaic and Panhandle Archaic complex diagnostic artifacts present in the donation, but not previously described in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) record include: four Late Archaic Brewerton-like notched projectile point and knife varieties, and seven lanceolate and stemmed, Steubenville projectile points and knives (3000-4300 yrs ago).

Brewerton-like notched point varieties. Onondaga, Flint Ridge, and Gull River chert.

Steubenville projectile points and knives. Mixed quarry and glacial cobble lithic sources.

Lithic materials range from local sourced Uniontown, Ten Mile, and Loyalhanna chert; and black and mottled gray secondary glacial cobble chert. Dates are based on recently radio-carbon dated archaeological contexts in the region (Carr et al. 2020; Cowin and Neusius, 2020). Additional stemmed and partial hafted bifaces, and refined biface bases are likely associated with Steubenville related site activities, however, specific attributes are too ambiguous to definitively type without further site context.

Late-stage biface fragments made from Ten Mile chert, in various stages of patination or thermal alteration.

There are other artifact types that may also correlate with the Brewerton-like and/or Steubenville components at Beck’s Hill based on analogous lithic source and tool manufacture techniques recovered from excavations at East Steubenville (Lothrop 2004; 2007). These include ground stone tool fragments and spalls used for woodworking, and dedicated biface chipped stone tools used for animal hide processing and other tasks made from secondary sourced igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary glacial cobbles. The definition of a dedicated biface is a tool made for an express purpose. The examples pictured below are a drill and scraper. More frequently, hafted bifacial tools were made by recycling or retooling projectile points, representing a secondary, rather than a primary use-life of a tool.

Diorite tool bit, metabasalt spall and medial ground stone fragment

Onondaga chert drill fragment, Onondaga chert square-bit bifacial scraper- possible retooled stemmed point, Gull River chert square-bit bifacial scraper

It is likely that by the end of the Late Archaic and start of the early Transitional Period, Beck’s Hilltop served as a temporary residential site for small family groups as part of a structured Panhandle Archaic complex seasonal cycle. Carr et al. (2015) postulates that upland sites, like Beck’s Hilltop, with a diverse array of artifacts, served as winter encampments, or as small base camps for specialized resource exploitation at other times of the year.  It may be suggested that these small kin-groups also joined with others at larger base camps along the Ohio river in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, Beaver and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania in the spring, late summer and fall to exploit different subsistence resources at peak availability.


Examining these archaeological resources contributes to our understanding of the daily activities and settlement patterns of the Indigenous peoples who lived here prior to the arrival of Europeans.  Colonists adopted many of these procurement strategies from the Tribes who had refined these seasonal sustainability processes over time. Many of these hunting, gathering and fishing processes continue to be employed today.  We hope you enjoyed this summary of the Panhandle Archaic complex and recent documented artifacts from the Fred Veigh Collection. We invite you back to explore more topics in Pennsylvania archaeology and invite you to view the on-line collections of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


References and Further Reading


Carr, Kurt W., et al. (Editors)

2020       Introduction and The Late Archaic Period. In: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania, Vol 1: Introduction and Part 2 Introduction. Eds. Christopher Berman, Christina B. Rieth, Bernard K. Means, and Roger W. Moeller. Assoc. Ed. Elizabeth Wagner. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.


Carr, Kurt W. and Roger W. Moeller

2015       The Archaic Period and The Transitional Period. In: First Pennsylvanians: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania, Chapter 4-5. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  


Cowin, Verna L. and Sarah W. Neusius

2020       The Late Archaic Period in the Upper Ohio Drainage Basin. In: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania, Vol 1: Ch 4. Eds. Carr et al. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.


Lothrop, Jonathan C.

2007       Panhandle Archaic Americans in the Upper Ohio Valley: Archaeological Data Recovery at the East Steubenville (46BR31) and Highland Hills (46BR60) Sites WV Route 2 Follansbee-Werton Road Upgrade Project Brooke County, West Virginia. State Project No. U250-2-13, Federal Project NH-002 (300). Submitted to West Virginia Department of Transportation, division of Highways by GAI Consultants, Inc.


2004       Panhandle Archaic Americans at East Steubenville: Chronology, Settlement, and Regional Comparisons. Poster presentation in the symposium “New Light on Panhandle Archaic Americans in the Upper Ohio Valley: A View from the East Steubenville Site, Northern West Virginia,” presented at the Society for American Archaeology Meetings, April 2, 2004, MontrĂ©al, Canada.


Marquardt, William H. and Patty Jo Watson

1983     The Shell Mound Archaic of Western Kentucky. In Archaic Hunters and Gatherers in

the American Midwest, edited by J.L. Phillips and J.A. Brown, pp. 323-337. Academic

Press, New York.


Mayer-Oakes, William J.

1955      Prehistory of the Upper Ohio Valley: An Introductory Archaeological Study. Anthropological Series No. 2, Vol. 34. Annals of Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.


Tippins, William H.

2020       Ohio’s Lanceolate Maker’s – Part I: Debunking the Late Paleo Lanceolate Myth and Awakening the Late Archaic Reality. Archaeology of Eastern North America. Vol. 48:157-191.

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

Friday, January 20, 2023

Lorillard’s Pipe as Advertising

Since resuming activities in the lab, we have received new collections to process from private collectors and artifact transfers from our Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) sites. Among the artifacts that we received, from Cornwall Iron Furnace, is a nearly complete white ball clay pipe bowl with a portion of the stem intact. Though a small artifact with limited provenience information, this pipe bowl gives us a glimpse at history of an early tobacco company.


Cornwall Iron Furnace is a historic site managed by the PHMC. Located in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania the Cornwall Iron Furnace was a mid-18th-19th century iron furnace. In 1742, Peter Grubb established the furnace to process ore from the mine he had opened a few years earlier. Named for the place Peter’s father emigrated from, Cornwall, England, the furnace developed into a plantation with industrial, agricultural, and residential activities. Small communities with homes, shops and schools began to grow around the furnace for the mine and furnace workers. The furnace remained open until 1883. Today Cornwall Iron Furnace visitors can view several furnace and village related buildings available for visitation and tours (Cornwall Iron Furnace 2023). 

Photo of part of the Cornwall Iron Furnace. Image from Cornwall Iron Furnace 2023

Artifacts recovered from PHMC historic sites are transferred to the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology, for cataloging and curation. As mentioned above one such object that was found on the Cornwall Iron Furnace property is a ball clay pipe bowl with a section of the stem still intact. The stem section that is present is stamped with TRY LORILL… TOBACC... CHAMBER ST ...W YORK, which if all present, would read TRY LORILLARD'S TOBACCO 16.18.20 CHAMBER STREET NEW YORK. This stamping indicates that the pipe was manufactured by or for the Lorillard Tobacco Company (Omwake 1967). 

Photos of both sides of the Lorillard Tobacco Company Pipe found at Cornwall Iron Furnace, 36Le375. Image from the collection of The State Museum of Pennsylvania.


The Lorillard Tobacco Company was founded in 1760 by 18-year-old Pierre Abraham Lorillard in New York City. The snuff-grinding and packing process was first operated out of a rented house on Chatham Street, New York City. Later a snuff mill was opened in what is now the Bronx Botanical Gardens, while the company’s retail locations were out of stores 16, 18, and 20 on Chambers Street (Fox 1947). Incidentally, this is what the stamped mark “16.18.20 Chambers Street New York” on the pipe stem references.

Pierre’s sons, Peter and George, took over the company in 1776 after Pierre’s death (D’Elia, Erica 2016; Fox, Maxwell 1947; Kelley and Anne 2009). Originally the company made snuff, plug chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars, but Lorillard moved into producing cigarettes in the 1880’s and have sold brand names such as Newport, Old Gold, Maverick, Kent and more (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica 2019). The company remained in the family for many decades and in the early 1870’s the Lorillard company moved to 111 First Street New[FC1]  Jersey. In 1891 the company was incorporated (New Jersey City University 2021).  The Lorillard Tobacco Company continues to operate today as the longest running tobacco company in the United States and is currently under the parent organization of Reynolds American (Kelley and Anne 2009, The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019).

Lorillard Snuff Mill, Bronx New York. Image from Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress.

Lorillard Tobacco Company has been a master of advertising from the beginning. The pipe found at Cornwall Iron Furnace was an advertisement in itself, that suggested the user try Lorillard’s Tobacco and where this tobacco could be purchased. In 1789, Peter and George Lorillard expanded their advertising beyond window displays and word of mouth by taking out ads in newspapers and magazines. By 1830, the Lorillard Company began to use direct mail advertising and in 1855 they were adding trading cards with their products (Fox 1947). Eventually the company’s ads moved to radio and then television. One recognizable television ad that was produced by the Lorillard Company includes the dancing “Old Gold” cigarette package (The University of Alabama 2018). 

P. Lorillard advertisement. Image from The New York Public Library, Digital Collections.

The Lorillard Tobacco Company has a long history and made waves in advertising and nationwide distribution for the tobacco industry (Kelley and Anne 2009). With this long history it can be difficult to determine the age of the pipe found at the Cornwall Iron Furnace, but archaeologists often use what is called a typology to determine the production date of an artifact. This is true of pipe stems. Based on historic documentation the length of pipe stems increased as time went on. Pipes from this time were made in two-piece molds, after the clay was pressed in the mold a wire was pushed through the stem to form the bore. To bore a hole through such long stems with no damage to the wall of the stem the size of the wire used to bore the hole had to decrease (Hume 1969).

Smoking pipe terminology (Bradley 2000).

With this in mind, and a study of thousands of pipes, J.C. Harrington created a system that correlated bore hole diameter to production date (Hume 1969). Today this system is often used, though there is debate about its accuracy. New research indicates that Harrington’s bore hole size typology is not nearly as accurate as once thought. As more information is collected on pipe stems and the study base size increases (more pipe stems) it seems that many pipe stems of the different bore hole sizes were in production beyond the Harrington date typology (McMillan 2016).

J.C. Harrington pipe stem bore hole typology table.

The Lorillard pipe recovered at Cornwall Iron Furnace has a bore hole size of 5/64”, which would date it to between 1720-1750 using the Harrington typology; however, this date is prior to the start of the Lorillard’s company. The new research, however, indicates that pipes with a 5/64” bore hole size were in fact in production into the 1750-1800 period as well (McMillan 2016, D’Elia 2016). This new date falls within the production time of the Try Lorillard company. If newer research is accurate, we can date this pipe bowl and stem to between 1760-1800. So, between 1760 and 1800 there was someone, likely a furnace worker, smoking this pipe advertising the Lorillard Tobacco Company.


Though there is more to be said about the history of the Lorillard Tobacco Company and their influence on advertising and tobacco use in the United States, we are examining this pipe found at Cornwall Iron Furnace for its origin and use at the site. As archaeologists we use research methodologies to date and learn about artifacts while often learning new bits of history along the way. It is this research that allows us to connect the tangible evidence of the past with the peoples who made and used these artifacts.  We hope you have enjoyed diving into the history of this artifact, and we invite you back to learn more about Pennsylvania’s archaeological heritage. View other artifacts in the PHMC collections.  



Bradley, Charles S.

2000       Smoking Pipes for the Archaeologist. Studies in Material Culture Research, 2000:104-133. The Society for Historical Archaeology, California, Pennsylvania.

Cornwall Iron Furnace

2023       History. Electronic document,, accessed January 11, 2023.

D’Elia, Erica

2016       Try Lorillard’s Tobacco. Electronic Document,, Accessed January 13, 2023.

Fox, Maxwell

                1947       The Lorillard Story. P. Lorillard Company, New York.

Hume, Ivor Noel,

1969       A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Kelley and Anne

2009       Try Lorillard’s Tobacco. Electronic document,, Accessed January 13, 2023.

McMillan, Lauren K,

2016       An Evaluation if Tobacco Pipe Stem Dating Formulas. Northeast Historical Archaeology 45:67-91.

New Jersey City University

2021       P. Lorillard Tobacco Company, 111 First Street, Between Warren Street and Washington Boulevard, Jersey City Historic Warehouse District. Electronic Document,,  Accessed January 13, 2023.

Omwake, H. Geiger

1967       Supplemental Report on Additional White Clay Pipe Evidence Recovered from the Buck Site Near Chestertown, Maryland. Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Delaware. 5(Fall):21-30.

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica

2019       Lorillard. Electronic Document,, Accessed January 17, 2023.

The University of Alabama

2018       Big Tobacco in the Big Apple. The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. Electronic Document,, Accessed January 17, 2023


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