PA Archaeological Site Survey Is Topic at NCC8 Event


Archaeologist Hannah Harvey, right, conducts an initial site survey at the Elk Tannery in Jamison City, PA, owned by Dr. Monte Kapec and his family. The historically significant property is used to support veterans' programs and help vets experience recreation and fellowship in a peaceful setting.


Do you know what to do when you find an arrowhead in the cornfield? What should you do if you find relics of ancient people when you're exploring in the woods? Who owns the past and how can you help protect it?

This, plus many more questions about archaeology and how prehistoric artifacts (and historic ones, too!) should be recorded and protected, will be the topic of an upcoming presentation at the upcoming meeting of Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology.

Hannah Harvey, an archaeologist with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), will speak about the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4 at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.

The SHPO program maintains Pennsylvania’s official inventory of over 25,000 recorded archaeological sites, and staff archaeologists continue to work with individuals and organizations to add to and improve our understanding of Pennsylvania archaeology through site recording.

Harvey's talk will include a brief history of site recording efforts starting in the late 1800s, a discussion of why it is important to record site locations and artifact collections, and tips & tricks for documenting sites and accessing site information.  Harvey is a member of the SPA’s Site Survey committee and will be looking for NCC8's and the community's ideas on planning survey projects. Harvey is the Cultural Resources GIS Specialist / Archaeological Outreach Coordinator for the state.

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, join or make a donation online at www.PennArchaeology.com.

In the Lab: Help Needed to Wrap-up Glunk Site Artifacts

NCC8 has officially closed the Glunk Site (36LY0345) and backfilled the open excavation units. Of course, it was time to wind the dig down, but the fact that the units contained about three feet of water contributed to that decision.

NCC8 members volunteer to process Glunk Site artifacts
The result is hundreds and hundreds of bagged artifacts from 29 excavation units. Luckily, we've had an intern helping us with the washing and cataloging but we need more assistance.

Some members have been joining intern Ben Conrad at Hands-on Heritage's headquarters in South Williamsport, learning how to identify artifacts from the stone and general debris that were bagged during the screening process.

They're also learning how to update the database, using a shared Google Spreadsheet to input information about the artifacts, and assigning accession numbers to special finds and groups of artifacts.

Donations are desperately needed to continue the processing of the Glunk Site artifacts, and members and the general public are asked to send any amount to NCC8. The more funds we can generate, the quicker we can complete the cataloging and the writing of a final report.

Please consider donating to the project. Use a link below to choose an amount, or and simply add the amount you wish to the final link:

Donate $10 -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8/10
Donate $20 -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8/20
Donate $50 -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8/50
Donate $100 -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8/100
Donate $200 -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8/200
Name Your Own Donation -- Click this link -- https://www.paypal.me/ncc8

Thank you!

Annual Archaeology, Indian Artifact Fair

If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, the time to share your collected curiosities is at the Third 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. March 30, 2019, at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.
The event is directed by Tom “Tank” Baird, vice president of NCC8 and an iHeartRadio contributor, who will bring his personal collection to share, and help identify artifacts and speak about local prehistory.

Baird to Discuss Rare Copper Artifact at Museum

NCC8 Presentation Coincides with Museum's Holiday Shopping Spree


Chris Andy adjusted his earphones and swung his metal detector left, then right, in a measured, cautious gesture. The sound, more clear this time, was distinct. The detector’s digital readout read copper, and he wondered if he would find another coin. Cautious to dig only a small divot from the turf, he heard the distinct sound of metal against metal. It was larger than he thought. Not a coin. Not a nail. Seconds later, he held the green, rectangular object in his hands, the first time in more than 5,000 years the copper ax had been in the sunlight.

This was not a historic find - not a lost penny or a piece of chunk of garbage discarded in the past 100 years or so. This was an ancient Indian artifact, one that had made its way through various hands along the prehistoric trade routes, from the pure copper mines of what is now called Michigan, to a lonely corn field along Muncy Creek in Pennsylvania.

But Andy wouldn’t confirm all of this for several years - not until he saw an article in the local newspaper about an upcoming Indian Artifact Show. He was scheduled to work that Saturday, and couldn’t attend, so he contacted the show’s organizers and handed it over.

NCC8 to Host Archaeology Open House, Indian Artifact Fair

Visitors to a previous NCC8 Artifact Fair

If you enjoy learning about prehistoric cultures in Lycoming County, the time to share your collected curiosities is at the Third 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, March 31, 2018, 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.

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.

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 freshwater 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.

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.

NCC8 Slates Indian Artifact Fair at Taber Museum

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.


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.

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.






Jim Bressler’s Legacy

Area archaeologist dies at 99

By Robin Van Auken

Jim Bressler sets a stake at Datum
during the 2004 Snyder Site excavation.
Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology mourns the passing of its most-beloved member. James P. Bressler has died at the age of 99. 

Despite his advanced age, his death was unexpected. His family intended to celebrate his 100th birthday anniversary Aug. 13. He is survived by his wife, the former Barbara Slocum.

“He went peacefully,” his niece-in-law, Mae Allvord, said. “He had a cold, but nothing serious. We were planning for his birthday party.”


The family will host a memorial service at 3 p.m. July 19 at the Faith Alliance Church, 2405 Bottle Run Road, Williamsport. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Northcentral Chapter 8.



Memorial donations may be sent to: Northcentral Chapter 8, c/o Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA  17701

or

Use this PayPal Link



NCC8 has established a membership memorial in Bressler's name. Fee memberships (youth or adult) will be granted each year to two, new members of the archaeology chapter.

Glunk Dig 2014


Lycoming College's archaeology field school returned to the Glunk Site in April to launch the 2014 dig. Working alongside NCC8 members, the students are excavating three units. On their first day at the site, two projectile points and a pitted hammer stone were recovered.
The site is next to Ault, a unique Woodlands Indian village excavated by NCC8 during the later half of the 20th century.

Interested persons and amateur (or professional) archaeologists are invited to join NCC8 at the Glunk Site during regular dig hours, generally 5-7:30 on Thursdays, and the occasional Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. Please check the calendar at right to verify the dig is on, since inclement weather and conflicting schedules/holidays may interfere.

There are NO meetings scheduled at the Taber Museum until the dig concludes for winter (November 2014). All activities take place at the dig site.

Indian Interpreter to Portray Andrew Montour

Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA
Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA.
The past comes comes alive as Montoursville's namesake, Andrew Montour, returns to the area as portrayed by historian and re-enactor William Hunt.

Hosted by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and Lycoming County Historical Society, Hunt will offer two programs: one for Montoursville Area High School students only, at 10 a.m. March 28  at the Thomas Taber Museum, and one for the public, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29 at Montoursville High School. The event is free.

Montour was an important interpreter and negotiator in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia in the latter half of the 18th century. A frontier diplomat, warrior and hero of the French and Indian war, he was a member of the Iroquois Grand Council. His missions were vital to colonial America.

Montour 's role cannot be diminished because of his mixed Native American and European blood. The fact that he had a foot in both worlds made him one of the colonial period's most complex, but effective, characters. 

NCC8 Prez to Talk Prehistory

Mary Ann Levine,
professor of archaeology
at Franklin & Marshall,

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society has announced the first program of its 2014 Lecture Series, which combines its Coffee Hours on Thursday mornings with its Society Programs on Sunday afternoons. The theme of this year’s Lecture Series is an examination of American Indian/Native American culture.

On Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 10 a.m., Tom ‘Tank’ Baird will be speaking on “The Very First Settlers of the West Branch Valley.” He will relate the importance of maize which was first cultivated in the 9th century by the Owasco culture of central New York. The subsequent colonization of the Susquehanna drainage for this farming was the first major occupation of Native Americans.

'Lost' History of Andrew Montour in Perry County

By Tank Baird

“They were driven from the lands on which they had settled and on April 18, 1752, Andrew Montour was commissioned by the governor to settle and reside upon these Indian lands, the Indians on July 2, 1750, having petitioned for such occupation, and arrangements having been made with them for such occupation at a place considered most central, to see that the lands were not settled upon and to warn off any who had presumed to settle there. He was also to report the names of any who did settle there that they might be prosecuted. He chose to settle on a stream which to this day bears his name, Montour's run flowing through Tyrone Township. “
History of Perry County
H.H. Hain 1922

Andrew Montour
(artist's rendering)
If you are a local historian and are surprised by this reference to Andrew Montour in Perry County (near Harrisburg) - you're not alone. The namesake of Montoursville, Pa., turns out to have spent a chapter of his life in Perry County, that even the folks at the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society in Montoursville did not know about. Upon sharing this information with Ray Harmon, vice president of the society, he commented, “ Little or nothing was known locally about Andrew Montour's role in settling Perry County.”

On my part, all of this was a chance discovery while doing research on his mother, Madame Montour.

Born Isabel Couc in New France (Canada) in 1667 to Pierre Couc, a Frenchman, and Marie Miteoamegoukoué of the Algonquin Nation, Madame Montour was exposed at an early age to Native American and European languages on what, at that time, was a very wild frontier. She had a gift for languages and became fluent in French, German, English, Iroquois, and Algonquian and, as early as 1711, she was in demand as an interpreter and negotiator between Indians and settlers. She became invaluable to both the governors of New York and Pennsylvania.


NCC8 2013 Summer Dig Opens

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, has opened its 2013 Summer Dig at the Glunk Site. See the Google Calendar in the sidebar at right for upcoming dates and times, and use the interactive Google Map (yes, in the sidebar) for directions to the site.

The Glunk Site has been officially registered with the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, the Bureau for Historic Preservation and has been designated as 36LY0345.

So, what does that mean? Why bother registering the site? According to the PHMC, recording an archaeology site helps protect it:

NCC8 President Tank Baird examines
the profile of a wall in an excavation unit
at the Glunk Site in 2012.
"Archaeological sites are the only record of the prehistoric past and they are an essential part of understanding the historic past. They are a non-renewable resource and they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Recording archaeological sites helps to protect them. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission encourages the recording of archaeological site information on Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) forms. Thousands of avocational and professional archaeologists have already shared site locations with the Commission resulting in tens of thousands of sites being recorded in the PASS files. Information for recording sites can be found at the PHMC Web site. Once the form has been submitted, a site number will be assigned. This number can be written on artifacts from this site so that there will always be a record of where they were found. The PASS number is based on a nationwide system called the Smithsonian or trinomial system. It is divided into three parts. The first part is Pennsylvania’s alphabetical position within all of the states. The second part is the county designation and the third part is the next number available in that county. For the PASS number 36DA0020, 36 is the alphabetical position of Pennsylvania, DA. is the designation for Dauphin County and 0020 is the twentieth site recorded in the county."

So, jon us at the Glunk Site this season and help us protect and preserve this area's cultural prehistory.

'Lost' Indian Village Discovery Topic of Archaeology Talk

Is this Otstonwakin, the long-lost
Woodlands Indian village? 
Diligent research and methodical investigation have solved a long-standing local mystery.
Mary Ann Levine, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, is convinced she's discovered Otstonwakin, the long-lost Woodlands Indian village once inhabited by "Madame" Catherine Montour along the Loyalsock Creek.
Levine will discuss her research and conclusions at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Lycoming County Historical Society.
Her visit and presentation, sponsored by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, will usher in the local archaeology chapter's spring season. NCC8 President Tank Baird hopes the event not only will stir interest in contact-period history, because Madame Montour was a significant political figure during the French and Indian War, but will bring volunteers out for the upcoming 2013 archaeology project.

What's Just Below Your Feet?

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology is a partner with "Just Below Your Feet," a documentary project with the main goal being to investigate the current status of Cultural Resource Management, which includes archaeology, preservation and conservation, in Pennsylvania.

Steph Bowen and Sara Griggs

It’s been two decades since the Pennsylvania legislature passed  Act 70, a 1995 amendment to the State History Code. Historic preservationists and archaeologists argue the law weakens the state’s ability to protect its cultural heritage. Numerous prehistoric and historic sites have been threatened, and many lost, to development in the law’s wake.

What is happening to these resources and why? Are they being lost at all? Or, is Act 70 a sound and valid law?

Two Lycoming College students want to know and have planned a documentary film to explore the question. Their project, “Just Below Your Feet", will investigate the status of cultural resource management, which includes archaeology, preservation and conservation, in Pennsylvania and their list of interviews and research subjects is impressive.

Fund raising is critical to the students' success. All donations may be made via cash, check or credit card donations to NCC8. Take a minute now and donate via the project's PayPal donation link by clicking the DONATE button below:

Donate via PayPal





Welcome to NCC8


Welcome to the official website of Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. During spring and summer, NCC8 hosts an archaeology dig for its members and the public.

Join us for the 2013 Archaeology Dig from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursdays during spring and summer 2012, at the Canfield Lane site. (See the map at right for directions.)

The Glunk Site: End of the Second Season Notes

Lycoming College archaeology student Steph Bowen uncovers
an interesting feature in her excavation unit during 2012 Dig.

By Tank Baird

Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, in cooperation with Lycoming College’s North American Archaeology Department and volunteers from various community service groups, have completed the second year of excavations at the Glunk Site in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County.

Located on Bull Run near the Susquehanna River and approximately one kilometer west of Loyalsock Creek, this site is owned by Paul Glunk.  Although it is in close proximity to the Ault, Canfield Island, and Bull Run sites, excavated by NCC8 under the supervision of Jim Bressler, this particular parcel of land has never been excavated.  To say that this is a choice location for all things archaeological may be an understatement. The entire Bull Run estuary seems to be a hot bed of prehistoric and Contact Period Native American occupation.  

Mystery Artifact Found

By Tank Baird
President, North Central Chapter 8

Imagine going back 1,000 years ago to the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. At that time, the area was inhabited only by Native Americans.

These people were the first land clearers in the region and farmed corn, beans and squash in open fields, some of which, kept cleared by subsequent cultures, lasted until the coming of the Europeans, a full 600 years from that point. It might be noted that knocking down huge trees (some of these trees were 10 feet in diameter) in virgin forest with stone axes was a daunting task but probably started with using bark as a building material and ended in girdling and burning the tree to bring it down.

Stroll the Heritage Trail

A stroll along the James P. Bressler Heritage Trail on Canfield Island is invigorating and educational. It's also tranquil, this quiet spot along the Susquehanna River's West Branch.

The trail is part of Loyalsock Township's Riverfront Park and is dedicated to James P. Bressler. A scholar and educator beloved in his community, Bressler carved a niche for himself in the region's prehistory and history books with his archaeological investigations.

Archaeologist James Bressler visits Riverfront Heritage Park named in his honor. Located on Canfield Island, the park contains a significant prehistoric Indian village in Loyalsock Township. Bressler and members of Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology excavated prehistoric sites in the area for many decades and Bressler is responsible for having the island listed with the National Register of Historic Places

"That is, in my estimation, one of the best-kept secrets in the county," Bressler said about the trail in a previous interview. "This is a unique attempt to integrate a number of different things. First of all, local history is really not being taught in our schools because there are too many competing things to teach. I understand that. But this is a unique way to combine a pleasant walk, a history lesson, and nature study. It's just a pleasure to walk around there."

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The Loyalsock Historic Complex

West Branch of the Susquehanna River, looking toward Canfield Island.

By James Bressler
Northcentral Chapter 8, SPA 

The following elements comprise a listing of sites and events that chronicle the human experience in the designated area over at least 7,000 years and contain much that is worthy of commemoration. From this list can be drawn those that collectively make this section of Lycoming County unique in character and historically important in our state and nation.



The Loyalsock Historic Complex
A Rationale for Commemoration

Defining and Understanding

From a hypothetical point in Loyalsock Creek where it merges with the West Branch of the Susquehanna River we scribe a two-mile arc beginning on the river bank to our west and thence the arc till we touch the river again to our east. The area enclosed, then, is here going to be referred to as the Loyalsock Historic Complex. It is indeed a special place, as we shall see, that deserves to be recognized as part of our historic heritage.
Often, when we think of historic places we immediately visualize such sites and events as Gettysburg where the thought of the horrors of a three-day battle of the Civil War have a profound effect on all the generations.
Or, perhaps, Valley Forge comes to mind where the depressed forces of the rebel Americans under Washington spent a grueling winter while General Howe and his British forces regaled in comfort in nearby Philadelphia.
Or it may be Bushy Run, where Colonel Bouquet in a clever military maneuver routed the attacking Indian forces and thus effectively ended Pontiac's rebellion.
There maybe others important to you, but they all have one common element, they are singular events occurring at one time and important to the development of our nation and its people. Our complex is different, for we not only honor the singular events that in themselves merit our attention, as they relate to the founding and growth of a County and Nation; but also the unfolding story of man's coming to this land and the evidence he left behind. For man first set foot on the Complex some 12,000 years ago as compared to our appearance scarcely more than 250 years ago. It seems reasonable, then, that here we should include in our recognitions of heritage the people who occupied this land 98% of human time to our 2%.

'Indian Artifact Magazine' Publisher Presents

Netsinker
Native American artifact expert Gary Fogelman will discuss prehistoric tools and stone implements at the upcoming meeting of Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. Fogelman also will bring a display to the 6 p.m. Monday, March 7 meeting at the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St.

Fogelman is the publisher of Indian Artifact Magazine, as well as the author and co-author of several books on the same topic. He has collected artifacts and researched the subject of Pennsylvania Indians for more than 35 years.
According to Indian Artifact Magazine, its publisher "… believes that the legal collecting of artifacts that surface across the land is a good thing.

It's a great past-time, and is a boon to archeology. Those collecting sometimes need guidance.
"This is what IAM endeavors to provide. After all, we are simply stewards for a little while of these things from the past. While in our possession we have a responsibility to see that benefit can be derived from the things we possess.

"Toward that end we try to educate people on what to do with their artifacts, to keep notes and/or information about the things they have, and to cooperate with the professional world whenever possible."

More information about Fogelman is available on his website: http://www.indian-artifacts.net.

Northcentral Chapter 8 is an active organization. Its mission is to discover and preserve the region’s American Indian and Pioneer heritage. Persons interested in American Archaeology should consider joining NCC8.
The chapter meets once a month from November through April, and during spring and summer it hosts an archaeology dig for its members and the public.

Meetings are held at 6 p.m. the first Monday of the month, November through April, at Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701. The website is www.PennArchaeology.com

Flintknapper Presents

Tank Baird examines  Shawn Gardner's collection

Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5, at the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

Artisan Shawn Gardner, of Fair Chase Designs, will present on prehistoric technology and Native American art. This is a presentation of the Northcentral Archaeology, Chapter 8 lecture series. Families with school-aged children are encouraged to attend.

Gardner lives in Montoursville, often presents programs to people who visit his teepee on school field trips. He also offers seminars and classes. Gardner specializes in making custom bows, arrows, quivers, antler and bone carvings, and jewelry of horn, wood, stone and silver. Utilizing prehistoric methods, he manufactures drums and musical instruments, makes birch bark baskets other containers, hunts and processes animal hides, knaps flint and manufactures stone tools and weapons,

Gardner will bring many items of interest to his presentation, which promises to be educational as well as entertaining.

Northcentral Chapter 8 is the Lycoming County chapter of The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc. which was organized in 1929 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.

More information about the local chapter, Northcentral 8, also is available online at www.PennArchaeology.com, or by calling Robin Van Auken, 916-0026.

Historical Archaeology Student Presents

Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, at the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

Kathleen Eierman, a senior American Archaeology major at Lycoming College will present on Maryland and Pennsylvania Public Archaeology.

This will be the second presentation in the Northcentral Archaeology, Chapter 8 lecture series. Families with school-aged children are encouraged to attend.

Kathleen attended field school in 2007 at Lycoming College. She has excavated in Muncy for the past three years. She recently interned at the Lost Towns Project in Annapolis, Maryland where she excavated several sites including a colonial Quaker home and prehistoric Algonquin settlements. Kathleen has mainly focused her time on public archaeology as well as other areas of archaeology including research.

She is also the teaching assistant for the American Archaeology class at Lycoming.

Northcentral Chapter 8 is the Lycoming County chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc. which was organized in 1929 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.
Kathleen Eierman

Biblical Scholar at NCC8


Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, at the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

Dr. Pamela Gaber, director of the Lycoming College dig at Idalion in Cyprus, and professor of archaeology and Judaic studies, will present on Public Outreach. This will be one presentation in the Northcentral Archaeology, Chapter 8 lecture series. Families with school-aged children are encouraged to attend.

Gaber earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University with a specialization in ancient art of the Near East. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the sculpture of ancient Idalion. She has participated in archaeological field work for more than 30 years, and has directed excavations at Idalion since 1987. Gaber spent seven years as a professor of art history at the University of New Hampshire. She has also served on the faculty at the University of Arizona, where she taught Near Eastern humanities. She is recognized throughout Cyprus as an expert in typology and pottery chronology—the tracing of the development of pottery types over time.

The author of several books and numerous publications, Gaber’s “Excavations on the East Acropolis of Idalion” was published in December 2007. She recently authored a children’s book, “Daily Life in Bible Times: What Archaeology Tells Us.”

Gaber teaches senior seminar in archaeological theory and courses in Judaic studies, but she will also continue to conduct her field school each summer.

Northcentral Chapter 8 is the Lycoming County chapter of The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc. which was organized in 1929 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.

More information about the local chapter, Northcentral 8, also is available online at www.PennArchaeology.com, or by calling Robin Van Auken, 916-0026.

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Jim Bressler, left, at Bull Run excavation.
James Bressler hasn't been keeping regular office hours this summer. Usually, the octogenarian spends Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Lycoming County Historical Society, tucked in a corner of the museum basement. There, surrounded by tall metal cabinets filled with stones, bones and pottery fragments, Bressler continues his life-long quest to understand how prehistoric Indians lived along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Bressler has been spending most of his free time "in the field" instead of the museum's basement and he's happier for it.

A self-taught archaeologist, for nearly five decades Bressler has been studying Indian technology, or at least what remains of it after hundreds, even thousands of years buried in the soil. His dedication and interest resulted in the formation of the local Chapter 8 of the Pennsylvania Society for Archaeology in 1956 and the excavation of numerous important Native American sites in the area. Those were, he reflected, glory days and as the last living charter member, he tries to maintain the present-day chapter's interest in archaeology. Every Tuesday evening, Bressler comes to the chapter's summer dig and expounds while he excavates.

"My old buddies are all gone; they're probably watching from some cloud up there," he said, gazing at the sky. "Oh boy, we had enthusiasm; we had real momentum."

Undeterred by aches and pains that remind him of his age, Bressler continues to lead the chapter's summer digs and on Friday, Aug. 13, he turns 90 years old. He plans to spend the morning on his knees in the hot sun scraping the hard, brown soil at the Snyder Site with his trusty trowel.

Bressler and the chapter opened the site in May and were briefly joined by Lycoming College students taking a field archaeology course. The chapter is still looking for volunteers to help with the dog days of summer.

The site is located in a field owned by Richard Snyder, a local farmer, and owner of a topsoil removal company. Snyder occasionally finds artifacts in his soy and cornfields and invites the chapter to investigate. It's not unusual to see people wandering through Snyder's newly plowed fields, heads bent as they concentrate on finding bits of Indian pottery and arrowheads. Snyder doesn't mind if he knows the visitors, but he tries to discourage trespassers. Not only are they uninvited, but they are destroying the cultural heritage left behind by Native Americans.

The Snyder Site, however, is only one small part of Bressler's legacy. A former educator and driving force behind the creation of the Williamsport Technical Institute, (former Williamsport Community College and now Pennsylvania College of Technology), Bressler's life has been dedicated to knowledge. His archaeological and his historic investigations in the area have been well documented.

Excavating Indian sites means that Bressler has a responsibility to publish his findings. This he has done in a series of paperback books, along with help from several Chapter 8 volunteers. His work has added immensely to the area's knowledge of Native American culture as far back as 5000 B.P. (Before Present).

Another legacy is the James P. Bressler Heritage Trail, a walking track that is as invigorating as it is educational. This tranquil spot is part of Loyalsock Township's Riverfront Park. Located on Canfield Island it overlooks the Susquehanna River's West Branch and the trail is lined with signs that tell of the area's prehistory and history.

"That is, in my estimation, one of the best-kept secrets in the county," Bressler said of the trail when it opened. "This is a unique attempt to integrate a number of different things. First of all, local history is really not being taught in our schools because there are too many competing things to teach. I understand that. But this is a unique way to combine a pleasant walk, a history lesson and a nature study. It's just a pleasure to walk around there.

"The story of how it (the trail) came about is interesting," he said, chuckling. "Some years ago, about the middle '90s when we were working on the Ault Site, call it inspiration if you like, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a synopsis of the events that have occurred in the area of Canfield Island. I call it the 'Loyalsock Historic Complex; A Rationale for commemoration.' It's a synopsis of many things, historic and prehistoric.

"It gives you a background of the area, of its importance in the scheme of things. In archaeology, it's up to the local people to safeguard and enhance their own concepts of what's important," he added.

It is a tribute to Bressler that the township acknowledged his historic contributions and the significance of his archaeological research. And Bressler relished the gesture.

"Seldom ever, in my life, has a dream come about as this one has. This whole thing is an answer to a dream," he said. "At that time we did not know that it would be a trail, but one way or another we ought to be proud of what we know of our history. How we were going to do that, I had no idea. After that, things just fell into place. The island became available,

Loyalsock Township recognized, 'Yes, indeed. Here's an opportunity to put up a park with river frontage, a beautiful spot.'"
It is primarily because of Bressler's research that Canfield Island was named to National Register. His research and excavations were, Bressler said, "The Alpha; the trail is the Omega. It's all a part of what we call heritage. This is what everybody inherits."

The James P. Bressler Heritage Trail is open to the public, located just off the Broad Street, Montoursville, Exit of I-180, near Williamsport.


Happy Birthday, Jim!



By Robin Van Auken