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.

Man on a Mission
Tom "Tank" Baird, a local avocation archaeologist and historian with Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania, made it his mission to learn as much as he could about the oxidized, irregular chunk of metal that had somehow ended up more than a thousand miles, and thousands of years, from the copper nugget outcrop that yielded it.

Baird estimates the artifact is possibly 5,000-years-old, a copper ax that is one among several copper items found in Lycoming County. He'll discuss the artifact, and the copper culture and trade routes of Native Americans in Pennsylvania, at an upcoming talk at the Lycoming County Historical Society. Slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, the presentation coincides with the Taber Museum's Holiday Shop, which is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

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.
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.
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.