Whether you have an old item that you would like to present to the archaeologists or are simply interested in checking out the objects on display, anyone who is interested in local history is welcome to attend the Fourth Annual NCC8 Indian Artifact Fair.
Northcentral Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will host their educational open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Taber Museum in Williamsport.
Gary Fogelman, noted artifact expert and author, is the featured guest for the event and will attempt to identify any items brought to him. Fogelman said that visitors will not only be surprised to learn that many times random found items are ancient, but even those without artifacts to present will have a great time at the open house.
“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 oldest — artifacts in his personal collection and will demonstrate flintknapping, a series of techniques used to make stone tools. 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.
In addition to Fogelman, Tom “Tank” Baird, president of NCC8 will be on hand to help identify artifacts and speak about local prehistory. An avocational archaeologist, Baird is a frequent public speaker and contributor to PBS, speaking about prehistoric indigenous people, and significant local historic events.
On display will be the subjects of Baird’s most recent presentations: Adena mound builder artifacts that were discovered in Loganton. The recent discovery has excited local residents and archaeologists.
“We are just beginning the investigation, but I can tell you that if all is what it seems - this is an important discovery,” said Baird.
Other displayed items will include artifacts from the NCC8 excavation in Loyalsock, The Glunk Site, designated 36LY0345. These items range in time from 3500 BC to 1200 AD.
With 12,000 years of Native American visitation and occupation, there is 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.
Andrea Campbell, vice president of NCC8/SPA, spoke about the success of past Artifact Fairs and marveled that, “Natural curiosity and interest in local archaeology bring out a wonderful blend of people.” She added, “It’s just such a great time. Many people stayed for a number of hours browsing, socializing, and waiting to see what else walked through the door.”
“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.”
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. The nonprofit group relies on the generosity of the community to operate.