The Peoples of the Susquehanna River

The Peoples of the Susquehanna River 


The Susquehanna River can trace it's American colonial history back to the 1600s. European settlers were drawn to the Susquehanna's fertile valleys and abundant resources, bringing their hopes of prosperity, and their conflicts, with them.

But long before their arrival, there were others who called this region home. They were people who traveled the length of the Susquehanna and knew it well ... People who were one with the landscape. Who were they, and where did they go? And what have they left behind?

Peoples of the Susquehanna River is an original documentary film produced by WVIA Public Media and Bucknell University. The one-hour program examines the history, cultures and traditions of the Native Americans of the Susquehanna River watershed. Prehistoric tribes, whose existence over 1000 years ago can still be discovered up and down the river from New York State to the west branch to the Chesapeake Bay.

Peoples of the Susquehanna River premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 on WVIA-TV.

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology participated in the making of this documentary, hosting WVIA's film crew and Director/Producer Kris Hendrickson at the Glunk Site in 2016. WVIA interviewed then-president Tom "Tank" Baird about the work NCC8 has been conducting in the region for more than 60 years, adding to the archaeological record of prehistoric people.

Rare Native American Effigy
Also prominent in the documentary is a rare Native American human effigy, owned by Baird and on loan to the Lycoming County Historical Society, Taber Museum. The human effigy was made by the Clemson’s Island People, a Native American culture living in the Susquehanna River valley area approximately 1,000 years ago.

This artifact was found at the first registered archaeological excavation in Lycoming County, designated 36LY1 in 1957, by North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. It was excavated near the Brock Village Site near Muncy, PA.

This village was associated with the Brock Burial Mound, however, the effigy was not found within the confines of that mound. The eyes were made from fresh water pearls and expertly set in the clay effigy. The features on the face are etched and carved beautifully and holes were drilled in the perimeter of the skull to accommodate feathers. Archaeologists know this because feather residue was found in those holes.

Originally bound for a museum, it disappeared into private collections and although drawings and pictures have appeared in artifact and archaeological publications since 1957, the effigy was never on public display until now. Purchased by Anita and Tom “Tank” Baird from a private collector, this work of art quickly became part of a community conservation effort.

A replica of the effigy is also on display, and was produced using a laser scan and 3D imaging and merges the ancient with high technology as part of this conservation. Hendrickson brought the WVIA film crew into the lab to capture footage of the laser scan.

According to Hendrickson, in the documentary, we also get to know the later tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, the Susquehannocks, the Lenni Lenape and the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their influence on arriving European settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was significant. But the inevitable clash of cultures, as well as the European's need to possess this land they'd discovered, drove these indigenous peoples off of the lands of their ancestors. Their contributions to the American society we know today are largely forgotten ... unless you know where to look.

Leaders, artists, teachers and citizens of the Lenni Lenape and the Iroquois Confederacy share with us their traditions and their philosophies. Their stories paint pictures of a people whose stewardship of the environment has only grown more crucial in today's industrial world. These peoples are still here, their culture still vibrant. And with some help from environmental groups, educators and students, they continue to preserve and protect mother earth for the next seven generations.

Artifact Expert to Present at NCC8 Workshop

Gary Fogelman, artifact expert and flintknapper, demonstrates
stone tool technology at the 2017 NCC8 Artifact Fair.

Northcentral Chapter 8 kicks off its winter season of meetings and workshops with a visit from Indian artifact expert and flintknapper Gary Fogelman.
Fogelman will present a workshop on how to identify stone tools and artifacts at 6 p.m. Nov. 6, 2017 at the Taber Museum, Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA.
The public is welcome to attend.
Northcentral Chapter 8 (NCC8) will also accept nominations for its board of directors, including president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, at the meeting.


Rare Native American Human Face Effigy



The human effigy was made by the Clemson’s Island People, a Native American culture living in the Susquehanna River valley area approximately 1,000 years ago. 

This artifact was found at the first registered archaeological excavation in Lycoming County, designated 36LY1 in 1957, by North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology.

It was excavated near the Brock Village Site near Muncy, PA. This village was associated with the Brock Burial Mound, however, the effigy was not found within the confines of that mound.

Notice the eyes, made from fresh water pearls and expertly set in the clay effigy. The features on the face are etched and carved beautifully and holes were drilled in the perimeter of the skull to accommodate feathers. Archaeologists know this because feather residue was found in those holes.

Originally bound for this museum, it disappeared into private collections and although drawings and pictures have appeared in artifact and archaeological publications since 1957, the effigy was never on public display until now.

Purchased by Anita and Tom “Tank” Baird from a private collector, this work of art quickly became part of a community conservation effort. The replica effigy also in this display was produced using a laser scan and 3D imaging and merges the ancient with high technology as part of this conservation.

Special thanks to Ray Harmon and the General John Burrows Historical Society, Bassler / WPW, Faro Technologies Incorporated, North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and Palmer Multimedia Imagining for their generous support in helping to bring this precious part of our prehistory to the public.

NCC8 to Host Annual Indian Artifact Fair

Visitors to the 2016 NCC8 Artifact Fair

If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, the time to share your collected curiosities is at the Second Annual NCC8 Indian Artifact Fair.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host the educational open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.
Gary Fogelman, noted artifact expert, author and publisher of “Indian Artifact Magazine,” is the featured guest for the event. Fogelman said visitors will be not only be surprised to learn that many times, collected items are ancient, but they’ll have a great time.
“The artifact fair is fun because you never know what will walk through the door, he said. “Sometimes you get to see some rare things, and then get to educate people about what they have.”
Fogelman plans to bring some of the finest — and older — artifacts in his personal collection and will demonstrate flintknapping, as well.
A lifetime member of NCC8, Fogelman is the author and co-author of several books on projectile points, artifacts and local cultures. He also contributes to national publications and typology handbooks.
Fogelman will review artifacts brought by visitors and attempt to identify small collections and individual items.
Andrea Campbell, president of NCC8/SPA, spoke about the success of the 2016 Inaugural Artifact Fair and marveled that, “… natural curiosity and interest in local archaeology brought out a wonderful blend of people.” She added that, “The last fair was a wonderful time. Many people stayed for a number of hours, talking, socializing, and waiting to see what else walked through the door.”
In addition to Fogelman, Tom “Tank” Baird, vice president of NCC8 and an iHeartRadio contributor, will be on hand to help identify artifacts and speak about local prehistory.
An avocational archaeologist, Baird is a frequent guest on Ted Saul’s “Sunday Morning Magazine” talk show, speaking about Prehistoric Indians and significant local historic events.
“We’re hoping to provide a service to the community by having a day to identify primarily, but not limited to, local Indian artifact finds,” Baird said. “Whether found in fields or inherited in shoe boxes, we feel that these artifacts need to be discussed and labeled to be appreciated.”
With 12,000 years of Native American visitation and occupation there is a rich prehistory in Pennsylvania.  There is a genuine curiosity out there about those objects picked up in fields and by bodies of water. People want to know what they’ve found and even if it turns out to be just a stone.
“The first question many people ask is, ‘Is this an artifact?’ Sadly, some have odd-shaped rocks that may  look man made, but a trained eye may know the difference. There will be collections available to also make that comparison between a genuine artifact and an anomaly,” Baird said. 
NCC8 members will help teach visitors about what to look for in future trips afield to increase their chance of identifying actual artifacts and helping to designate more areas as prehistoric sites.
“This type of event can educate everyone. To hold an object that was created by a human being just like you and I perhaps thousands of years ago is still a thrill and a wonder,” Baird said. “Could the craftsman or artist ever dream that their creation would end up in our hands and in collections or in a museum far into the future.  These objects are all time travelers and need to be honored as such. Together they assure that the culture that created them will never be forgotten.”
Also on display will be artifacts from the NCC8 excavation in Loyalsock, The Glunk Site, designated 36LY0345. These items range in time from 3500 BC to 1200 AD. 
NCC8 is the Lycoming County chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., which promotes the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
NCC8, a 501(C) educational nonprofit organization, relies upon donations. Without the community’s generosity, the group could not pay for the Insurance needed to host digs. NCC8 needs donations to purchase supplies, such as trowels, shovels, tarps, and artifact preservation bags. Please donate today and help preserve and protect Lycoming County's cultural heritage.

Learn more about the group and make a donation online at www.PennArchaeology.com.

NCC8 Member Acquires Prehistoric Native American Effigy


This prehistoric Native American effigy artifact (900-700 years before present) was found at the location of Lycoming County's first registered excavation, 36LY0001 (Brock Village) in 1957. 
Carved most likely from bone, the effigy was drilled and was once adorned with feathers, perhaps in the same fashion as the current feathers. The eyes were made of freshwater pearl. 
It has been acquired from a local collector by Tank and Anita Baird with private funds, and is the subject of Tank Baird's upcoming radio talk with iHeartMedia's Ted Saul on "Animism and the Artifact."
Stay tuned. More to come ...

Kids Dig 'Arch in the Park'

While in Florida at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program during Spring Break, Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, from left, Ben Conrad, Darrin Coleman and Richard Matel-Galatis record artifacts "in situ."


Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8, Lycoming College Unite to Offer One-of-a-Kind Archaeology Experience to Area Youth

MUNCY -- Arch in the Park is a hands-on heritage program designed by students for students. Organized by communication students at Lycoming College, Arch in the Park is an archaeological outreach offered by Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8 and Lycoming College's archaeology department, under the direction of Robin Van Auken of Hands on Heritage.

Together, the groups are hosting an interactive archaeology demonstration, including hands-on terrestrial and underwater archaeological activities, to promote learning from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 24, 2016 at Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail, 601 Pepper St.

According to Jenny Reilly, a senior at Lycoming College and the primary organizer of the event, "This is a fun and educational opportunity for people of all ages to learn about archaeology." Reilly has a passion for archaeology, and after graduation in May, will attend graduate school for museum studies. She has a keen interest in preservation and digital archaeology, spurred by the destruction of antiquities in the Middle East.

Arch in the Park is the kick-off event of a series of unique, educational activities planned by Lycoming College students at the Muncy Heritage Park. These events include a Birds and Bugs Hike, a Fishing Derby and the popular star-gazing event, Under the Night Sky.

Hands-on activities for Arch in the Park will be taught by Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, who will show attendees how to record artifacts with a grid, handle lines and tie knots, and demonstrate scuba gear and tools they use when researching nautical sites.

Assisting Lycoming College with a hands-on excavation are the members of the local archaeology chapter, Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. The group is active locally and excavate during the spring and summer at the Glunk Site in Montoursville. The group will display prehistoric Indian artifacts at the event.

About Muncy Historical Society 
Muncy Historical Society and Museum of History, a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization founded in 1936, focuses on preservation and conservation of the rich history and heritage of Muncy and surrounding communities—its people, businesses, education, arts, traditions and folklore—by sponsoring educational programs and activities, through research and publication of our history, and interpretation of the museum’s collection for the community, including schools, colleges, community groups and professional historians.

While in Florida at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program during Spring Break, Lycoming College underwater archaeology students, from left, Krissy Wetzel, Sam Chovanec and Christine Almassy learn about lines and ropes and practice tying knots under the direction of Brendan Burke, LAMP archaeologist and logistical coordinator.

NCC8 Slates Indian Artifact Fair at Taber Museum

Prehistoric Indian Artifacts found at Glunk Site.
Walking the freshly tilled farm fields is a Spring rite of passage for many history buffs, carefully meandering through the rows of mounded earth, searching for the elusive arrowhead.
There’s joy in discovery and often this leads to a lifelong passion for local history and admiration for Native American ingenuity and technology.
If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, now is the time to share your collected curiosities at the NCC8 Indian Artifact Fair.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host the educational open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 12 at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.
Gary Fogelman, noted artifact collector, author and publisher of “Indian Artifact Magazine,” is the featured guest for the event.
Fogelman said visitors will be surprised to learn that many times, collected items are ancient.
“People of the past often produced exhilarating works of art in flint and stone, and other mediums like bone and antler, which sometimes survives through time. Many people do not realize how old, usually in the thousands of years, these Indian artifacts are,” he said. 
“Often, the flint and stone tools are all that remain of past peoples and cultures, thus every bit and shred has a story and can possibly add to our knowledge of those past cultures and people,” he said.

On the Radio

NCC8 President Tank Baird conducted a series of radio interviews with Clear Channel, on the topic of local prehistory and history. Click the link to listen to Tank's discussion on WRAK.



The Susquehannocks

The Mound Builders

Thanksgiving in the New World

Madam Montour

Andrew Montour


NCC8 Needs Your Support

Northcentral Chapter 8, a 501(C)3,  is the Lycoming County chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., and we seek donations from your organization to continue our mission to promote, preserve and to protect Lycoming County's archaeological heritage.

We have a long and illustrious history in the region, and have contributed greatly to the understanding of the area's prehistory and history. In fact, NCC8 is responsible for Canfield Island being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in recognition of the amount of information it had yielded and because of its potential to yield even more information. The site is today part of Riverfront Park, a Loyalsock Township park that includes an archaeology-themed trail on the island.  Since 2003, local Native Americans have held an annual pow-wow on the island.

As a Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, NCC8 works to:
• Promote the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states;
• Encourage scientific research and discourage exploration which is unscientific or irresponsible in intent or practice;
• Promote the conservation of archaeological sites, artifacts, and information;
• Encourage the establishment and maintenance of sources of archaeological information such as museums, societies, and educational programs;
• Promote the dissemination of archaeological knowledge by means of publications and forums;
• Foster the exchange of information between the professional and the avocational archaeologists.

The chapter’s first meeting was held Aug. 12, 1955, at the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport. Since that time, NCC8 members have introduced archeology to generations, instilling the love of heritage and history.

NCC8 an Official Non-Profit


Lycoming College for Kids at the Glunk Site.
Pat us on the back. Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology is officially a non-profit.
Let the donations roll in.
Seriously, reach into your pockets and pull out cash and checks (or a credit card -- we have a PayPal donation button on the site) and contribute to the most active archaeology chapter in the region.
Northcentral Chapter 8 has existed since the late 1950s, but we haven't been an official non-profit until now. With our 501 (C) status, we can apply for grants, accept donations and provide legal receipts for your generous support.
There are a lot of hidden costs that we incur as we strive to conserve and preserve the region's archaeological heritage, including an expensive insurance liability policy, without which we could not host our public archaeology dig.
We partner with Lycoming College and Lycoming College for Kids & Teens, as well as Muncy Historical Society and Lycoming County Historical Society, and that provides us with some equipment, but we need more.
Last year, hundreds of visitors came to the ongoing archaeology dig at the Glunk Site, as well as dozens of college students, each with an interest in local prehistory. NCC8 also gives presentations and hosts group tours and Scouts at the site.
Although labor is free (thank you, Volunteers!), the supplies for these activities wear out. We're in dire need of equipment and funds to excavate, interpret and preserve the artifacts that add to our cultural heritage.
Won't you help us today?
Become a member, even if you don't plan to dig. Your membership fee helps us teach others how to dig.
Give generously. Send a check, drop by and put cash in our hands, or use the PayPal donation button at right to support us.
We thank you for your generosity.

'Enormous' Native American Longhouse, Upcoming Archaeology Dig Topic of NCC8 Meeting

This circa-1964 photograph shows the excavators and guests at the Montoursville Boro site. Wooden stake markers are placed in many of the postmolds to outline the footprint of the Proto-Iroquoian longhouse. Photo courtesy of the Hutchinson Family.
 Local avocational archaeologists are gearing up for a new season in the field, returning to and exploring significant Indian village sites near the Loyalsock Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.


Northcentral Chapter No. 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host its March meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 2 at the Taber Museum, 858 W. Fourth St. 

At the meeting, President Tank Baird will present a slideshow tracing the chapter’s recent work at the Glunk Site (36LY0345), a Woodlands-period Native American site, and explore the Montoursville Boro Site (36LY0034), an enormous Native American longhouse excavated in 1963-64 by local amateur archaeologists Bill Hutchinson, Bob Higgins and Clark Kahler.

The public is encouraged to attend and learn more about the society's endeavors, and there will be artifacts from the current archaeology dig on display.


Proto-Iroquoian Longhouse
A 15th-Century Iroquoian Village was reconstructed on its original site in Ontario, Canada. It is similar in size to the Montoursville Boro Site longhouse excavated in the 1960s.   Photo courtesy of Laslovarga, Wikimedia Commons.
Hutchinson’s crew spent several years excavating the longhouse, built by people of the Clemson Island culture. The structure was approximately 35-by-90-feet in size and placed at the nexus of the Loyalsock Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Estimated date of occupation is 1050-1100 A.D.

“The recent rediscovery of this Proto-Iroquoian building may support the case for a much larger population of Native Americans here in the West Branch Valley at that time period than previously thought,” Baird said.

Collaborating with Hutchinson's family and the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society in Montoursville, Baird compiled slides of the 1960s-era excavation along with historic and current maps. 

These will be presented at the meeting, along with photos from the current NCC8 dig at the Glunk Site.

Archaeologists believe that the Clemson Island people bought pottery making, use of the bow and arrow and mound building to the Susquehanna Valley. They also introduced the proto-longhouse, but structures as large as the Montoursville Boro site are rare in the region. According to Baird, the closest similar longhouse is in upstate New York.

In all, the excavators uncovered 457 post molds, which they used to estimate the size of the structure. If it were 35-feet by 90-feet, it is estimated it could have towered to a height of 25 feet, Baird said. Clemson Island-type artifacts were found in relation to the longhouse site, as well as the flexed and bundled burials.


The Glunk Site
The Glunk Site, named for landowner Paul Glunk, is located about 720 yards west of the longhouse, and is believed to be part of a larger, long-lasting occupation, which includes the famous Ault Site. Within a one-mile radius, there are several significant, registered Native American sites, including Otstonwakin, the Ault Site, Canfield Island, Bull Run and the Snyder Site, all researched and registered with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission by NCC8.

“We wish to convey to Paul (Glunk) the appreciation of the members of NCC8 for the past four years of support and land use at the site,” Baird said about the landowner’s generosity and continued support for the excavation. In addition to allowing guests visit and work at the site, Glunk provides assistance with land clearing and back filling.

Glunk, who operates a nursery along the West Branch of the Susquehanna, is restoring a portion of his land to its historic parklike setting, as designed and developed by lumber baron and sawmill owner Ezra Canfield. The Canfield family had a summer residence and Victorian garden  there in the late 1800s.


Canfield Island
Canfield Island, named for Ezra Canfield and the former site of his sprawling and successful sawmill, is the most renowned Native American site within the complex. It was first explored by archaeologists in 1958, led by the late-James Bressler and other members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. The newly formed NCC8 team conducted a series of excavations yielded artifacts that date to the Archaic Period (approximately 3,000 years Before Present).

In 1982, Canfield Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places "in recognition of the amount of information it had yielded and because of its potential to yield even more information," according to Wikipedia reports. The site is today part of Riverfront Park, a Loyalsock Township park that includes an archaeology-themed Heritage Trail on the island.


NCC8 Public Archaeology
NCC8 is a Public Archaeology group, which means it encourages the public to attend meetings and join the members at their excavations where they offer simple lessons in archaeological research.
The chapter is currently working on a report of recent work at the Glunk Site, and a synthesis of information that unifies all of the sites.

More information about Northcentral Chapter 8, and an application to join and become a member of the archaeology team, is available on the web at www.PennArchaeology.com.

The Plum Tree Massacre and the Iroquois War on Colonial Expansion

Portrait of Joseph Brant,
painted while visiting England
at age 33 by George Romney.
By Tank Baird

The date was June 10, 1778.  In the East, the Revolutionary War raged and Colonial forces under Gen. George Washington were seeing key victories producing a turning point in the conflict. People living in present-day Lycoming County, also were part of that war. They were fighting for their lives against an enemy and ally of the British, whose very plan of attack included ambushes and lightning raids designed to ignite as much terror as possible. Also according to plan, these attacks were creating a second front to drain men and material from Washington's fight.
The land that would later include Williamsport had only one small settlement at Jaysburg (the modern Newberry section). But there was a problem with that location, and indeed any farms, forts and settlements west of Lycoming Creek, including those at the future towns of Jersey Shore and Lock Haven. They were on Iroquois land.

NCC8 on WVIA TV

Northcentral Chapter 8 President Tank Baird participated in WVIA-TV's video special, "Out Town: Montoursville," speaking about several topics, including NCC8's local dig, the Glunk Site (36LY0345).
Watch the entire documentary embedded on this site, courtesy of WVIA-TV.
NCC8 is grateful for permission from WVIA. The entire video may be watched on demand on WVIA's website  or by clicking on the video below.

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

Allegheny Airlines Flight 371
From the collection of the Lycoming County Historical Society
and Thomas T. Taber Museum

Courtesy of Shane C. Collins 


One man's quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. 

The crash site has received designation from the Commonwealth as an official archaeological site. In addition, plans are under way for a monument to be installed onsite.  

Shane Collins, whose personal efforts to honor the victims of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 will discuss his journey at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 1, at the Lycoming County Historical Society, an event sponsored by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology.

Collin's presentation falls on the 55th anniversary of the accident, which occurred Dec. 1, 1959.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board records of 1960, the pilot of the Martin 202, N174A, failed to "execute a timely abandoned approach" at the Williamsport Regional Airport, most likely because the compass was not working properly.