WILLIAMSPORT — 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.”
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 plans to bring some of the finest — and older — artifacts in his personal collection. 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, as well as members from the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society of Montoursville, will share artifact type collections, and help teach visitors about what to look for in future trips afield. Knowledge of what constitutes an artifact will increase their chance of identifying actual human-made items 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.