Monday, August 9, 2010



I wanted to share an article by Jon Hart of the NYS Museum published in 2003. This article came up in a conversation today and I thought it timely to post here. It seems to me that this article from nearly a decade ago is still very valuable in many current discussions that are are being thrown around today with another term: "Proto-Susquehannock." With obvious lack of "real" meaning, the "Owasco" term is per Hart is "nothing more than a subjectively defined unit based on the thoughts of Ritchie and his predecessor, Arthur C. Parker."(early state archaeologists of NY....) I would argue strongly that the same stands true for the term "Proto-Susquehannock" and the subjective use by an earlier state archaeologist of PA - Barry Kent, and that it is time to re-sequence the dating for the Susquehannock to include the evidence from Athens, PA and the surrounding region where this subjective categorization has caused confusion for decades...

This is what Barry Kent stated in 1984: "One of the most complete sequences of trade materials for the eastern United States is that established by Wray and Schoff (1953, and Ray 1973) for the Seneca sites of Western New York. A certain amount of refinement of this sequence and it's dating is clearly possible. However, this basic chronological ordering is still widely accepted. By comparing the trade goods of the next period, (Shultz stage) of the Susquehannock cultural; development with those of the Seneca sequence. Witthoft(1959: 67) postulated a date of about 1575 for the beginning of the of the Shultz stage. More recent investigations have suggested only minor changes in this dating. The Shultz stage occurs almost exclusively in the lower Susquehanna Valley, and specifically at the Shultz site south of Washington Boro in Lancaster County." (Kent 1984:34)...But the truth is that extending the sequencing process into PA just doesn't add up...

Take for instance the artifacts that were found in Athens (Proto-Susquehannock by Kent's standards) as compared THE Susquehannock site in Washington Boro, PA (Susquehannock by Kent's standards) ? Can we REALLY differentiate and call one different from the other?

And aren't copper spirals and bone combs classic SUSQUEHANNOCK items?

The lead article of the SRAC Journal in May 2009 covered much more of the Murray Garden site and the artifacts found there (just click the image below to enlarge or click here to go to all of SRAC's Journals ):

Also - this video below begins with me discussing quotes from journals from the Sullivan/Clinton Campaign of the soldiers digging up many Native American burials and taking the "trinkets" found therein - luckily as the video continues, you see that they didn't find them all - in fact the pipe shown here is a very popular artifact in Harrisburg with few realizing that it was found in Athens, PA....

Let's face it folks - it's time for the "Death of the ProtoSusquehannock" - I'd love to hear your comments - just click the comments link below to add to this discussion!

You can also read the Jon Hart's article "Death of the Owasco" below:

No comments:

Post a Comment