Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Local Collection

Well Ted Keir and I were on the road again today at lunch time and we traveled to a local collector's house to see his collection by invitation. Though I am not at liberty to discuss the person's name or specific site location, I think you will be intrigued at what he found surface hunting throughout his life at this one site within a 15 mile distance of our location in Waverly, NY. While he had many points and working tools, I wanted to share a few of the rarer items that span thousands of years for this particular site in hopes that we can get some feedback on them.

Please "Post a comment" to add your feedback or thoughts on any of these items!

First, I wanted to show you this trade pipe that I have not personally ever seen, and was told by the collector that the NYS Museum has one to match and that it is a red clay Dutch trade pipe with a rabbit face...if any one has more clear information about this or any other thoughts - I would love to know it...

Then he also had a very neat rock with a simple face carved into it: (It was not marked at all on the other side...)

And - then there was the strange polished pod-like slate small bowl(?): (several different angles of the same artifact below...)

Lastly, how about two birdstones in GREAT condition (one popeyed!) for the grand finale?

Actually the collector said that he had been dragging logs on this area of the site when he noticed the green slate birstone (in back in image below) on the ground, and still can't believe that it was in one piece when he found it!

Note the notching on the nose of the red popeyed birdstone - -I wonder if that has some significance?

The story does not end there though....

You see this collector was offered $500 just for one of the birdstones by someone out of state.

In fact Hess's auction house is just a short distance away...and he knows he can make alot of money if he takes his collection up there...

You see, to me, if you break up the collection from this site or people take them out of area, they are just erasing more of the evidence of the people who lived here...Furthermore, if he takes it to a museum hundreds of miles away, how can we as a community celebrate this incredibly rich prehistoric and early historic past?

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is dedicated to education, research and preservation of the region's Native American archaeological, cultural and historical assets for the communities within the Twin Tier Region of Southeastern NY and Northeastern PA, and we will compile and share all of our records for any research on the region!

Lastly I believe this is a VERY GOOD example of why SRAC was founded, because I believe that as my hero, Louise Welles Murray said 100 years ago, "the artifacts need to stay here," not for MY sake...but for the sake of many generations to come to know what we know.

But then I am no collector, so I cannot say what I would do if I was contemplating getting rid of these incredible specimens- - or need for money - - and this is just one of many collections in the region, so what could it hurt - - RIGHT?

-- so I ask YOU - - - -

"What do you think someone like him should do?"

Please "Post a comment" to add your feedback or thoughts


  1. Deb,

    The "pod-like" object could be a boatstone. They are sometimes found in association with birdstones and other Adena-like objects in the Northeast.

    Lucianne Lavin

  2. Did you think of the possibility that one of the artifact especially the "pod-shaped" bowl would be used a medicine dispenser

    the other is it can be used as a "bull roarer" ...a device you know is used even today by Native people in relation to ceremony.

  3. Donald Clair MontgomeryDecember 29, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    To the collector: Just hold onto it and put it in your will to have it donated to the S.R.A.C upon your death. You might also listen very carefully to Deb and Ted, about how important it is to have the collection remain in the area where it was collected and be made available for research and display. It's worth more than any monetary amount that you might get for it, and it would be a wonderful personal legacy.

    Donald Clair Montgomery

  4. A "red clay Dutch trade pipe with a rabbit face"? Give me break! There are very few red clay pipes found in New York State until the 19th century period. This is not a Dutch trade pipe. The only European trait this pipe has is the spur heel beneath the bowl. This form of spur would date from the 18th century or later on a European white clay pipe. Someone obviously copied this element from a European pipe. This pipe could have been made by anyone, anywhere, at any time after ca. 1750.