Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waverly's Lincoln Street School Project at SRAC


Waverly's 4th grade at Lincoln Street School has just finished their curriculum on local Native American history that included a field trip to the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) at 345 Broad Street in downtown Waverly, NY earlier this year. As a part of their final testing on the topic, each student was asked to do a project which are now on display at SRAC for the next month. The public is invited to cast votes for their favorite projects - and the top three from both classrooms will be on display at SRAC for the next year. Votes are cast with pennies and all proceeds from the event benefit Lincoln Street's 4th grade class. Voting is already underway and will continue until the ceremony to announce winners occurs during the school's Christmas vacation.

SRAC's executive director Deb Twigg stated, "This is the second year running for this contest and I can tell by the quality of each project that the students really want to be winners who will have their projects on display in SRAC for the next year. It also shows what great teachers they have in Robin Blauvelt and Cathy Hand because these projects show great detail in the illustrating what they have learned about the Native Americans who lived right here hundreds of years ago."

Picture caption - Lincoln Street 4th Graders ShayLynne Robbins and Haley Mack teamed up to create their Native American village scene for their entry into the contest at SRAC.




Monday, November 22, 2010

Wood Carving Art Exhibition at Scheduled at SRAC

There is ALWAYS something going on at SRAC!

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) will host a special event presented by the Catatonk Valley Woodcarvers organization. The event will be held on December 11th, 2010 from noon – 4pm. Nine artisans will exhibit and demonstrate various wood carving techniques and have many hand carved items on sale just in time for Christmas.


The Catatonk Valley Woodcarvers is an organization that is committed to the development and the preservation of wood carving skills. The group began in 1988, and consists of carvers with a wide range of experience from novice to intermediate and professional levels. The event will be a great place for the public to learn about wood carving techniques, new tools, and products from experienced carvers. Items on display will include folk art, marionettes, 3 dimensional art, 3D relief carving, wood chipping, wood carving, wood burning, animated and even life sized wood pieces made by the club members.

Visitors will also be able to taste test biscotti and so much more from Mamma Chisari of Celebrations Catering throughout the event.

SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY. To learn more, visit www.SRACenter.org.





Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fort Niagara


The picture shown above is actually a photo taken from my iphone as will be all of the photos in this posting. I need to say that because I am sure that many of you will think that these are paintings or illustrations from times past - but the truth is that it really is just that amazing in person today!


This fall I finally got a chance to go up and visit Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY. For those of you that are not familiar with it, I am adding the information straight from the Fort Niagara website for you to get the connection with our region's early history:

"So devastating were the raids from Fort Niagara, particularly those in 1778 against
the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and Cherry Valley, New York, that the United States government took military action. The farms of New York and Pennsylvania were threatened, and, since they produced food essential for American armies, drastic steps were deemed necessary. In 1779 George Washington dispatched an army under General John Sullivan to chastise the Iroquios. Sullivan's troops brushed aside feeble resistance and marched through the Iroquios country that summer, burning crops and villages. The Americans halted at the Genesee River, only eighty miles from Fort Niagara. Sullivan might have attacked the British post, but fall was approaching, and he lacked the provisions and artillery needed to conduct a siege. The Americans retired to Pennsylvania.

The Iroquios incurred few battle casualties during Sullivan's destructive march. Many villages and crops were destroyed, however, and the Six Nations faced starvation during the winter of 1779-80. They flocked to Fort Niagara for supplies, aggravating an already serious shortage of provisions. The British tried to feed the Indians who camped before the walls or to disperse as many as possible to undamaged villages where food could be obtained, but many starved during the winter. The Iroquios were not forced out of the war, however, and their attacks continued with greater ferocity. The population displacement caused by Sullivan's campaign dramatically increased the number of Iroquois living near the Niagara River, and several new villages, including one near the modern Tuscarora Reserve in Lewiston, were established during the later years of the American Revolution.

Sullivan's expedition marked the closest approach of United States troops to Fort Niagara during the War for Independence. This threat stimulated much labor on the fortifications. The earthworks were repaired and strengthened to resist assault. The final years of the American Revolution saw continued raiding from Fort Niagara, and the garrison also supported campaigns being waged in the West. Troops from Fort Niagara were called upon to respond to American threats from both New York and the Ohio Valley. Their efforts helped keep the Great Lakes under British control throughout the conflict." ( http://oldfortniagara.org/ )
For more information about the Sullivan/Clinton Campaign - you should visit SRAC's gift shop/book shelf area, as our own Ellsworth Cowles and Richard Cowles have books they have written, along with many others on the topic - some are even available to purchase online. Furthermore, SRAC's exhibit hall houses artifacts from the Sullivan Campaign as well. (SRAC is open Tuesdays - Fridays from 1-5pm and Saturdays from 11am - 4pm.)

Truth is, I was not sure what I would find when I reached the fort which is now a huge tourism draw, but when we got there, I was amazed at what we found as you can see from the photos posted here.

The buildings on the site actually represent many different time periods with most being erected between 1726 and 1872. The oldest building on the site is the one shown in the picture directly below, referred to as the "French Castle." In fact, it is the oldest building in the eastern interior of the United States. Although the fort would change hands from the French to the English and then finally the Americans, the initial approval by the Iroquois to build this "trading post" was given to the French in 1726. This huge structure "of peace" was enclosed with fortifications and was actually built with a layout that included a powder magazine, guardhouse, and 25 foot deep well within huge walls and could withstand any attack. Even the dormers on the top floor facilitated rifles and cannons.


The French would lose the fort in 1859 to the British during the French and Indian War, and they again added buildings and even more fortifications. The British held the fort until 1796 when they were forced by treaty to yield it to the Americans, but then recaptured it again in the War of 1812 only to give it back to the Americans at the end of that War.

Below are other pictures that I took at the site during my visit and I think show how this incredible site has been restored and preserved for generations to enjoy.

The South Redoubt (left) and the Provisions Storehouse. Both of these buildings were built by the British. The South Redoubt was built in 1770 to protect and provide a cannon at the main gate. The Storehouse was originally built to hold 7,000 barrels of food and later was used as a stable and barracks.

Earthen fortifications abound around this fort as do trenches. This picture shows the Bake House outside the fortifications. it was built in 1762 by the British. Bread for the troops were baked here until 1870.


North Redoubt was built in 1771 - this is literally a fort within a fort, and it even had a powder magazine on it's ground floor. The view of Lake Ontario can be seen in the background.



Scarp Walls and Casemate Gallery. Earthen walls were reinforced with concrete and brick between 1863 and 1872 for fear of British Canadian interference during the Civil War. Steps lead to a casemate gallery designed to contain four 24 -pounder cannons.



Although the land defenses were built in 1755 and were rebuilt in brick and concrete in the 1860's to follow the original layout of the fort was designed by the French in 1755. They protected the main walls from cannon fire and assault.



If you get the chance to visit Fort Niagara, no matter if you are a historian or a sightseer - I would tell you that this is definitely worth the trip. And let's face it - if I get these pictures with my iphone - the site can make anyone look like a decent photographer!



It is a walk back in time in a beautiful location on Lake Ontario and is so large that visitors are not walking on top of each other...


The museum is also very informative - and includes a recently restored huge 15 stripe, 15 star flag that was captured from the Americans by the British at one point during the War of 1812 and returned to their museum in 1994.

To take a tour of Fort Niagara online - visit: http://oldfortniagara.org/visit/tour.php

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcoming Events at SRAC: December 2010

There's ALWAYS something going on at SRAC!

Jewelry & Beading Class
Sat, December 4, 11:30am – 1:30pm

SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY map

Local lapidary Ellen Sisco is an artisan who is very knowledgeable about working stone, mineral, gemstones, and other suitably durable materials into decorative items. On Saturday, Dec 4th, Ellen will conduct a class at SRAC in basic beading. Supplies include beads and all accessories to complete a necklace. Precious stones, clips, glass beads and polished glass chips are among the variety of beads that the attendees will be able to choose from. Fees for this two hour beading class is $25.

Examples of the jewelry that can be made can be seen here - but it is totally up to what your imagination brings to make your own design!

RSVP's are greatly appreciated by calling the Center at (607)565-7960 or by emailing info@SRAcenter.org.

SRAC's Event Calendar - click here. (this event calendar is updated often so bookmark it now!)

America's Golden Age of Toys
Tue, December 7, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

SRAC 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY map

Get in the mood for Christmas as we present, "America's Golden Age of Toys," by Tioga County Historical Society's Tom McEnteer.

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center, (SRAC) is proud to present "America's Golden Age of Toys", by Tioga County Historical Society's Tom McEnteer. Collector, antiquarian and researcher of toys in America, McEnteer will display almost forgotten and very rare antique toys and give a very informative presentation including general toy history, with the focus on toys of the 1930's through the early 1980's. Tentatively, the program will include slides, large photos, and of course some show and tell.

There will also be guest appearance by Don Merrill, Waverly's very own top historian and antiquarian who will display and discuss actual toys made in Waverly's Crandell (1890's) and Manoil (1950 - 60's) Toy factories!

The audience is also invited to bring along any old toys that they might like to show. A major portion of the presentation is very informal and Tom invites the audience to ask questions and add comments as they come up.

Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the golden age of toys in America and even Waverly, NY!

Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for SRAC members and students. Free admission to the SRAC lecture hall will be included in the admission price.

SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY.

SRAC's Event Calendar - click here. (this event calendar is updated often so bookmark it now!)

Drawing in Color Classes
With Albert White
EVERY Wednesday From 6-7:30pm

SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY map

If you are looking for some basic drawing, painting, or advanced techniques with different mediums, Albert White will take the time with you in an atmosphere that makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in our door! These classes started months ago and because of the popularity - they have just kept going! Albert White is a well known artist out of Binghamton, NY who runs a very relaxed class filled with conversation and interesting information as he teaches each of his students (from teens to retired adults!) at their own level.

Born in Binghamton, White attended San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with honors from the Maryland Institute of Art. As an artist, Albert's paintings reflect sensitivity and power in wildlife, people, and the land. His artwork has been shown in venues across the country and is in permanent collections of major institutions. He has served as an exhibitor, lecturer and a teacher in many prestigious locations including Harvard University and the Iroquois Indian Museum. Currently, White has ten of his original prints and drawings on exhibit and for sale at the SRAC gift shop. Class fees are just $10 per night!

Call SRAC at 607-565-7960 or email info@sracenter.org to reserve you place today.


SRAC's Event Calendar - click here. (this event calendar is updated often so bookmark it now!)

Wood Carving Exhibition and Sale
With Catotonk Wood Carving Club
Saturday, December 11th from noon - 4pm
SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY map

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) will host a special event presented by the Catatonk Valley Woodcarvers organization. The event will be held on December 11th, 2010 from noon – 4pm. Nine artisans will exhibit and demonstrate various wood carving techniques and have many hand carved items on sale just in time for Christmas.


The Catatonk Valley Woodcarvers is an organization that is committed to the development and the preservation of wood carving skills. The group began in 1988, and consists of carvers with a wide range of experience from novice to intermediate and professional levels. The event will be a great place for the public to learn about wood carving techniques, new tools, and products from experienced carvers. Items on display will include folk art, marionettes, 3 dimensional art, 3D relief carving, wood chipping, wood carving, wood burning, animated and even life sized wood pieces made by the club members.

Visitors will also be able to taste test fudge from Waverly's Sweet Dreams Bakery throughout the event.

SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY. To learn more, visit www.SRACenter.org.





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pack 17 Cub Scouts Visit SRAC

We'd like to thank Rebecca Smith for bringing her Cub Scout Pack 17 to share the afternoon with Ted Keir today! You guys are awesome kids and we' hope to see you again soon!

When I asked Matthew what his favorite part of his trip to SRAC was, he said. "I loved EVERYTHING!"

From left to right: Aaron Smith, Matthew Rilloraza, Brice Mashas, and SRAC's Ted Keir.

Want to share this in an email or on Facebook? use the following link!







Monday, November 8, 2010

Lincoln Street Returns with "Canoe of Thanks"


As many of you might recall, last week we hosted the 4th grade of Waverly's Lincoln Street School for a field trip which took the kids on a journey through our prehistoric past that we hope that they will share with their own kids someday. During the field trip the group was broken into three subgroups in order to rotate through three stations to include Ted Keir - "Hunting the Woolly Mammoth in Our Region," Dick Cowles "Early American Trade in Our Region," which included a birch bark canoe, trade axes and beads, and animal furs, and Jack Andrus, "Native American Children's Stories" to include one about a bear hiding a star in an apple which is always a favorite!

The picture shown here is of Ted Keir with the remote control woolly mammoth, atlatl and stone tools on the table and with the big woolly mammoth seemingly listening in there in the background!

In the coming weeks the kids will make projects that will be brought in to SRAC and the public will be invited to come in and vote (with pennies) on their favorites, with all proceeds benefiting their class for supplies and whatever they need - so stay tuned!

This afternoon, Cathy Hand, one of the 4th grade teachers (shown above) came in with a gift from the kids that I just had to share with all of you! It was a huge paper canoe with all of the kids thank you's and drawings from the field trip on it. Here are just a few of their notes on the huge canoe! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and will stop in sometime and read them all!

(Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge.)



SRAC is a nonprofit organization and is staffed 100% by volunteers. I am very proud of all of the things we are doing for our community and I hope that you share this posting with others who might want to know more about us! You can do so by simply clicking the following link:




Friday, November 5, 2010

Jewelry Class this Saturday!


When: Sat, November 6, 11:30am – 1:30pm

Where : SRAC - 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY (map)

Local lapidary Ellen Sisco is an artist or artisan who is very knowledgeable about working stone, mineral, gemstones, and other suitably durable materials into decorative items. On Saturday, November 9th from 11:30 - 1:30 pm, Ellen will conduct her first class at SRAC in basic beading. Supplies include beads and all accessories to complete a necklace. Precious stones, clips, glass beads and polished glass chips are among the variety of beads that the attendees will be able to choose from. Fees for this two hour beading class is $25.

Examples of the jewelry that can be made can be seen by using the following links:

http://www.sracenter.org/store/sisco1.jpg

http://www.sracenter.org/store/sisco2.jpg

http://www.sracenter.org/store/sisco3.jpg

http://www.sracenter.org/store/sisco4.jpg

RSVP's are greatly appreciated by calling the Center at (607)565-7960 or by emailing infi@SRAcenter.org.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hands-on history at SRAC - News - Daily Review

Yesterday was another one of those days at SRAC where you walk away inspired.

It was the second year in a row that we have held our 4th grade field trip for Waverly's Lincoln Street 4th grade, and I have to tell you that it was a memory maker for all 47 kids and all of us too...

We had three groups made of the students in order to rotate through our three stations every 25 - 30 minutes and then we ended with a question and answer period back out in the lecture hall.

SRAC's Ted Keir, Dick Cowles and Jack Andrus as usual do tremendous jobs getting the kids involved in their topics and have tons of hands on learning tools to assist them.

Special thanks to Lincoln St. teachers Robin Baluvelt and Cathy Hand - - we have a few more things we will be doing with this class in the next few weeks as can be seen in the article by the Daily Review below:

I want to thank D.R. reporter Brian Bishop for making it to SRAC during a hectic election day!

WAVERLY, N.Y. - Fourth-grade students from Waverly's Lincoln Street Elementary School had a chance Tuesday to get up close and personal with their history lessons.

The students took a field trip to the Susquehanna River Archaeology Center (SRAC) Museum in Waverly, the second time the school's fourth graders have visited the museum in as many years. The students heard from Dick Cowles on early European contact with Native Americans in the region; from Ted Keir on hunting the Woolly Mammoth 12-15 thousand years ago; and Jack Andrus told the students some Native American children's stories.

Robin Blauvelt, a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Street, said the SRAC's exhibits go really well with the New York State fourth grade curriculum. It helps the students to grasp the material when they can have hands-on experience with Native American artifacts, she said, instead of just reading from a textbook. The SRAC has on exhibit many artifacts which were found locally, she said, which helps the students connect what they learn in school to their own area.

Deb Twigg, executive director of SRAC, said that after the students leave the museum, they will complete a special project on Native Americans, such as building a model longhouse. The projects the students complete will then be put on display at SRAC, with SRAC visitors voting on their favorites. The top five selected from that voting will be put on exhibit in the museum for a year, she said.

Brian Bishop can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or e-mail: bbishop@thedailyreview.com.

To read the article on the Daily Review site click here:
Hands-on history at SRAC - News - Daily Review

Monday, November 1, 2010

Origin of skillful stone-tool-sharpening method pushed back more than 50,000 years


ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2010) — A highly skillful and delicate method of sharpening and retouching stone artifacts by prehistoric people appears to have been developed at least 75,000 years ago, more than 50,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The new findings show that the technique, known as pressure flaking, took place at Blombos Cave in South Africa during the Middle Stone Age by anatomically modern humans and involved the heating of silcrete -- quartz grains cemented by silica -- used to make tools. Pressure flaking takes place when implements previously shaped by hard stone hammer strikes followed by softer strikes with wood or bone hammers are carefully trimmed on the edges by directly pressing the point of a tool made of bone on the stone artifact.

A paper on the subject was published in the Oct. 29 issue of Science. Other study co-authors included Vincent Mourre of the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research in France and Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergen in Norway and director of the Blombos Cave excavation. The research was funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation of New York.

"Using the pressure flaking technique required strong hands and allowed toolmakers to exert a high degree of control on the final shape and thinness that cannot be achieved by percussion," Villa said. "This control helped to produce narrower and sharper tool tips." The bifacial points, known as Still Bay points, likely were spearheads, she said.

The authors speculated that the pressure flaking technique may have been invented in Africa and used sporadically before its later, widespread adoption in Europe, Australia and North America. North American archaeologists have shown that Paleoindians used the pressure flaking technique to fashion stone points likely used to hunt a menagerie of now-extinct mammals like mammoths, mastodons and ancient horses.

To read the full article at ScienceDaily.com use the following link:

Origin of skillful stone-tool-sharpening method pushed back more than 50,000 years