WILLIAMSPORT - 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. 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. He's also been featured on WVIA, contributing to documentaries about local history.
An item of interest that Baird will show is a rare copper ax that was a trade item originating in Michigan, lost most likely about 5,000 years ago near an Indian Path in present-day Muncy.
"Archaeological evidence from all around New England, and as far south as Pennsylvania suggests their trade with this precious metal," he continued. "Traveling on foot, these native people really got around. This ax had to be brought as a finished item from Michigan and then down to our area."
Even though the avocational archaeologist may be able to trace where it was made, where it ended up, and the approximate age of the object, the item's amazing travel path may be lost to the ages.
"Since the ax was found near Muncy Creek, it may have been a grave item and simply got washed away, or it might have simply been misplaced in the darkness of the forest," Baird said, speculating. "This was a time before Native agriculture and this area was heavily forested. There might have been conflict involved, but these groups were hunter-gatherer societies and as far as we know the barriers to trade were minimal.
"It seems that the borders of these cultures were open to all trade activities. Since this was found close to Warrior Springs, a meeting place on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River for over 10,000 years, and along the Wyalusing Trail coming out of the north, I can easily imagine it coming or going to that ancient site. If, in fact, it was simply lost it was a very bad day for those that lost it."
Fogelman Will Flintknap at the Event
Once again, noted artifact expert Gary Fogelman will participate in the event. Fogelman said visitors will 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.
An Educational Event for People of All Ages
With 12,000 years of Native American visitation and occupation, there is rich prehistory in Pennsylvania. here 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.
“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.”
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.”
Fun for All Ages: Children Welcome!
Children are welcome and will have an opportunity to participate in processing artifacts, learning how to identify them, and take part in an art project while at the event.
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.