Monday, January 31, 2011

Is it YOU?


Is it YOU that really wanted to support your community, but because of the current economic times did not think it was possible?

Is it YOU that has always wanted to make a difference in your community but just didn't know where to start?

Did you know that The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is the largest museum in the area with thousands of artifacts on display and is open 5 days a week and staffed 100% by volunteers? Did you know that in 2010 SRAC hosted OVER 50 community events and classes for our community? Did you know that SRAC offers field trips FOR ALL local schools AT NO COST! Did you know that EVERY child that comes to see the SRAC Exhibit Hall wins a free prize? We do all that we do to support our community - and in order to continue, we hope that our community will continue to support us in 2011.

We have created an new online option to allow just about anyone on any budget to make donations to our organization in installments over 12 months! These installments can over time add up to the donation that you never thought was possible! For instance, you can donate just $2 a month and at the end of the year you will have have donated a total of $24 to SRAC! If you'd like to consider this new option - visit http://www.SRACenter.org/Donations/ and go to the Funding Options section to learn more!

For those that would like to get out in the community and make a difference by volunteering a few hours a week (and possibly building up your resume in doing so,) contact SRAC's Deb Twigg at dtwigg@SRACenter.org. Anyone that volunteers 7 hours or more a month can attend SRAC events FOR FREE!

Is it YOU that WILL make a difference in 2011? Click here to begin.

(For those that want to do something immediately of value to us at SRAC simply forward this posting on to your friends and family. Just sharing information about us is a help in itself!)

Thank you for whatever you can do to support SRAC!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lincoln Street School Project Winners Announced!




There's ALWAYS something going on at SRAC!

(WAVERLY, NY) On Saturday, January 29, the 4th grade students from Waverly's Lincoln St. Elementary School gathered at what was the finale of a unique contest that was held at the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) .

As a part of their curriculum on local Native American history the students made a field trip to the SRAC earlier this fall. After finishing their curriculum on Native American history, each student was asked to do a project that represents what they learned. These projects were then put on display at SRAC and the public was invited to cast votes for their favorite projects, with one penny equaling one vote. Teacher, Robin Blauvelt said, "The kids work so hard on these projects. It's wonderful for them to have a great place like SRAC to display them."

The top 4 winners from both Mrs. Blauvelt's and Mrs. Hand's 4th grade classes were announced on Saturday and their projects are now on display at SRAC for 2011. Each winner received different prizes from the SRAC gift shop and a 1-year family membership to SRAC which includes free admission to the SRAC Exhibit Hall all year long. First place winners were Kari VanAllen & Starr Harford, second place winners were Michaeol Zimmer, Hailey Sudge and Shaylene Robbins, third place winners were Andy Buffone and Abigail Durgan, and honorable mention went to Sam McConnell, Stanley Lin, and Alisa Willis. Teacher, Cathy Hand commented, "The field trip and the project contest that our class has at SRAC every year is an amazing way to bring the school and the community together. It shows students that what we teach is real and offers a hands on approach."

In the end, the event raised $230 dollars for the fourth grade classes. SRAC's executive Director, Deb Twigg remarked, "The truth is that it is just as much fun for us to do these things for our schools and our kids as it is for them. We look forward to seeing the kids and the great projects they make every year and consider it just another fun way that we can give back to our community. As a result, I hope that it is clear to our community also that a donation to SRAC gives back many times over."

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is a non-profit organization and is staffed 100% by volunteers. The Center is located at 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY. For more information, visit www.SRACenter.org.

Friday, January 28, 2011

This Tuesday! - "The Revolutionary War- the British Perspective"

The Revolutionary War- the British Perspective,
by Robert Shepherd,PhD, Elmira College
Tuesday, February 1st
, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
at SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

There's ALWAYS something going on at SRAC!

In 1779 - Generals Sullivan and Clinton received orders from General George Washington to come to our region and to battle the British and Native Americans. The entire campaign would be referred to by many today as one of the most important strategic efforts of the Revolutionary War. As a result, it is quite common in our region to hear about the Revolutionary War in relation to the Sullivan Campaign and from the American soldier or Native American perspective.

However, on Tuesday, February 1, at 6:30 - 7:30pm, SRAC will host a very unique presentation on - "The Revolutionary War - The British Perspective" by Dr. Robert Shepherd from Elmira College. The talk will discuss the reactions in Britain and the rest of Europe toward the American Revolution, including those both for and against the American cause.

Dr. Shephard has been teaching European History at Elmira College since 1987, including courses on the Holocaust and on British, Russian, and women’s history, and seminars on Renaissance Italy, Tudor England, the French Revolution, and European Totalitarianism.

His research interests focus on early modern British political culture, and he has published articles in the Journal of Modern History, the Sixteenth Century Journal, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and Sex and Sexuality in the Pre-Modern West. Dr. Shephard has been a Regional Visiting Fellow at Cornell University and is currently the vice president of the International Sidney Society. He received the Gerald R. Rubio Award in 2005 for his article “The Political Commonplace Books of Sir Robert Sidney.”

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members and students. The admission to the SRAC Exhibit Hall is included in the admission fee for the event. SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY. For more information, email info@sracenter.org or call the Center at (607) 565-7960.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

SRAC Finances

Now is the time when we are all getting our financial information together and getting ready to do our taxes for 2010 - and as I've been doing SRAC's year-to-date report for our accountant and the Board of Directors, I decided that this information is something that others might be interested in as well. As a result, I've compiled the following financial information for the public to learn more about SRAC's finances and why we need them.

2005-2008:
First - as many of you know - SRAC was founded and incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2005 - so as of the end of 2010 - we have had a total of around 5 years to raise funds to support our mission. But we began raising funds right out of the gate, because we knew that we had to get a building in order to share our collections with the public.

In December 2007 - after looking at several buildings, we bought the building at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY which meant we had to have a down payment of $15,000 and then take on a mortgage and utilities that we continue to pay every month. (Actually, the owner of the building gave us a two-year owner-financing deal and then we mortgaged the property through a local bank after that.) We also had to renovate the building before we could use it - and we did it with all volunteer help, which made it nice because we then just had the cost of building supplies. Yet even this would not have been enough if it had not been for so many noteworthy philanthropic efforts from our community.


This is what the Center looked like when we first came in to see it in 2007

This is when first we got the building in January 2008

The first was Triple V Electric owner and SRAC member, Mr. Ron VanDyke actually called me and said, "before you walk in that door, my guys are coming over and rewiring that building for you." And so I went over in the morning and let them in and then locked up when I left work each day until they finished - and then they just walked away (we were never charged a penny.)

The second was Dr. Barry Skeist who came in one day and looked at our walls that were plaster with huge holes and crumbling all over the floor and so on and said, "I have some painters that know how to fix this and owe me some time - you just need to pay for the paint." - Well these painters painted for the better part of 2008!


Painting the whole main floor ceiling was a HUGE job! This is a picture of the back stairs in the lecture hall today - and to the right is where the Woolly Mammoth Exhibit now resides.

Meanwhile, we still had to afford the rest - including adding a lot of new drywalling, a new bathroom, flooring for the gift shop, etc -and all the building supplies... But by having the outstanding support of volunteers - we could and do A LOT with a little bit of $!

Let me give you an example here to help you understand what I mean....If you enter our Center you will see a huge gift shop with a wall that goes across the back of the room with doors that go into the lecture hall and exhibit hall areas. There is also a bathroom built off this wall. We asked for a quote for the wall and 2 bathrooms (we ended up with one) and the estimate came back at over $47,000! Realizing we could not afford this - I asked our own Tom Valillee to see who he could get to volunteer and SRAC would pay for the supplies - - It cost us a total of around $500 for the wall and all wiring, dry-walling and painting and around $1,500 for the bathroom. SAVINGS: ~ $45,000 for just this one renovation!



Gift Shop wall going up!

The other thing that we did was ask every organization in the area for chairs, tables, and other furniture to use at SRAC. Guthrie Clinic donated 250 of the chairs that used to be in the Clinic waiting rooms. Lockheed Martin donated chairs and tables that we use in our gift shop, and for classes etc. Individuals donated cases for our gift shop.

We also needed a business plan that kept revenue coming in the door either by donations or sales in our gift shop - and so, unlike many museums that get huge donations each year to pay their expenses, SRAC has to ask for small donations for admissions to our Exhibit Hall and events to help us survive. We also stay open five days a week all year long, and offer SRAC members free admission to our Exhibit Hall every day and discounts on every event held at SRAC.

Already by March 2008, (only three months after buying the building) we opened the doors for the public to see the small amount of inventory and consignment items in our gift shop, and to attend events that we started having in the lecture hall that was still under construction. In the end, we survived our first year with our Center and the public kept coming back to support us!



Note: for 2008 - our mortgage, insurance and all utilities for the first year = $14,408; this was an eye-opener for me - as I have taken the responsibility of creating the business plan that will keep us in business - And for the first year with our building two things stood out clearly - - 1.) We worked with a VERY SMALL BUDGET and 2.) Donations (which includes admissions) is really what made the difference and allowed us to not only pay our basic bills, but also allowed us to renovate and continue to grow.

2009 -
When you come to see the thousands of artifacts in the SRAC Exhibit Hall, it's important to note that the Corning Painted Post Museum donated ALL of the cases in the SRAC Exhibit Hall. These cases were once owned by SRAC co-founder Dick Cowles's father- Ellsworth Cowles. He actually took them all to Corning when he created a museum that later closed. Although Ellsworth kept all of his collection in safe keeping and it is now in SRAC today, the cases remained in the closed museum for a decade until the Corning Painted Post Historical Society had learned about SRAC and contacted Dick Cowles, so that they could be used once again to house Ellsworth's collections at SRAC.

When we first received the cases - they needed a lot of tender loving care. SRAC member Les Rolfe supplied all of the materials we needed to re-line every case, and many hours were spent cleaning and re-lining the insides of each case before we could put anything in them. Next, we personally designed and created all of our Exhibit Hall displays. In the end, except for the cleaning supplies and a few posters, the cost to create our Exhibit Hall exhibits totaled $0.00 and we get comments everyday about how wonderful they are!


Cases donated by the Corning Painted Post Historical Society

SRAC Board members Mary Ann Taylor and Janet Andrus relining all of the cases.

In 2009 we also received a $5,000 + grant from the Mildred Faulkner Truman Foundation to upgrade our whole security and smoke/fire detection system for the whole building - which brought us up to the standards of the NYS Museum. Most importantly, it ensures that we are good stewards of all the collections that we are entrusted with.

In October 2009 during our annual "DrumBeats Through Time" event - we unveiled our SRAC Exhibit Hall to the public. We also unveiled a huge mural taken from a drawing that Ellsworth Cowles did for the Pennsylvania Archaeologist in 1933, of the village site he excavated below Spanish Hill.


Dick Cowles and Ted Keir unveiled the mural together at the DrumBeats 2009

To close out 2009 - we had a wonderful surprise - in late December, Barbara Sowinski donated $24,000 in order to dedicate the SRAC Exhibit Hall in the name of Andrew A. Burns. (This is the largest donation that SRAC has EVER received!)


SRAC Board at Andrew A. Burns Dedication Event


As a result, within two years of buying this run down old building - our Center really began showing the signs of being able to be all of those things we had wanted SRAC to be... and even being able to afford it!



2010 -
In 2010 - because of Barbara Sowinski's generous donation in honor of Andrew A. Burns in 2009, we made a commitment to renovate as much of the inside and outside of the main floor of our Center as was possible - realizing that because we never had much money to do much more than the basic necessities - we needed to invest in things like carpeting, fixing the outside of the building, putting on new front doors that actually opened and closed correctly, and well - bringing us up to a professional standard that we want to have so that our community can be proud to bring visitors to our Center and not feel like they just entered an old building with artifacts in it!

We also decided to make another huge addition to our Exhibit Hall, one that was a result of the efforts of our own Ted Keir - who had for many years gone around the region trying to share the story of the "Spring Lake Mammoth" - which by all accounts is considered one of the most significant excavations in Pennsylvania history. But without Ted's efforts, it would have been all but forgotten...It was after discussing this with Ted and finding out that we could in fact get replicas made by The Carnegie Museum that would rival the actual artifacts in quality, that we asked the Andaste Chapter of PA if they would be interested in pursuing an exhibit in SRAC to commemorate the excavation and to educate the public about the significance of this find in relation to our region's prehistoric past. They in turn requested a grant from the Allen Pierce Foundation that allowed the replicas to be made - and as they say - - the rest is history!





Ted Keir is shown at a couple of the school field trips held annually at SRAC

The fact that local students get to come to SRAC for their field trips and hear Ted talk about the Spring Lake Mammoth in person and are surrounded by this wonderful exhibit is truly a great thing for our schools. The public can also visit SRAC and have the same type of experience with Ted on Tuesday afternoons or watch him on the kiosk at the exhibit any time that they visit us. And I guess this is one of those things we have learned - that Ted and his personal attachment to this exhibit is what makes it simply unforgettable for the young and old alike...


Summing it all up -


* unaudited

If you or anyone that you know is wondering how our relatively new organization is doing financially - I hope that by sending this out that I have answered many of your questions. As you can see, SRAC's membership continues to grow steadily, and our gift shop sales has even tripled since last year. And although we did not receive a big donation check like we did in 2009, we did in fact get alot of smaller donations along with a substantial grant from the Allen Pierce Foundation that still kept us able to reinvest in our Center and continue to grow. But, as anybody that effectively deals with business development and strategic planning would have to agree - these numbers are only part of the equation if you plan to be successful over the long run.

As I look back over the past three years - I can tell you that fund-raising is not fun or easy - especially when SRAC does not accept state or federal funding and our economy has hit rock bottom. Thankfully, we have a Board that understands that we need to have our doors open and to work hard at getting people in to the gift shop, exhibit hall and events in order to supplement the donations and grants that we can muster during these hard times. As a result, the quality and value that we can provide in each visit to our Center is really pretty amazing. Our Board is made up of real specialists and students in our archaeology and prehistoric past. And our board members can be seen in SRAC spending several hours IN SRAC on a weekly basis - all year long. We are open five days a week and as you can see by this report as of 2010 - all of this hard work is beginning to show the financial rewards and that the community is responding very positively.

When I get asked from time to time I usually respond that I could only guess what SRAC would do with some of the large donations that other organizations receive. Someday SRAC will have a larger wallet to draw from too - but until then - it really is a nice feeling to know that this family that we have developed over the past few years has survived the hard times together. As one of our board members was just saying the other day - "I know we are working hard building a great future for SRAC - but I really enjoy everyday I am here right now too!"

While I think it is important to point out that SRAC is showing steady progression both in renovations and in revenue generation, without our volunteers and our community that have really embraced us and what we do by continuing to donate hours, shop in our gift shop, attend our events, donate to our cause, and tell others about us - we clearly would not have made it this far - this fast.

While many thought we'd never make it this far - thankfully - I can say with your support - we did!

Let's face it though folks, we still have a lot left that we need to do - which means we need everyone's help to continue to find more members, more supporters and more funding to continue our efforts while becoming a better and better place that our community can share.

If you'd like to join or support what I call the most inspiring, best feel good, and most community active organization around - we would surely appreciate it.

Please share this information with anyone who would like to learn more about SRAC by using the sharing links below:


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Friday, January 21, 2011

JE Ranch DVD Available at SRAC


Now there is good news for those who were not able to attend the "The JE Ranch - Waverly's Rodeo" that was presented at SRAC on January 4th by Waverly historian Don Merrill. Don shared many rare photos of the rodeo and the people who made it internationally renowned including big names such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey.

This event that brought a capacity crowd to SRAC has been talked about ever since and is now available on DVD and in the SRAC gift shop. Get your copy for yourself or for the history buff in your family today - and while supplies last - (they are a steal at just $6.95 plus tax!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Native Copper/Metal Usage Illustrated

A nice group of photos of copper objects from many different museums is supplied by the Ancient Waterways Society below.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Upcoming Classes and Events at SRAC

There's ALWAYS Something going on at SRAC!

Check out the great upcoming classes and events at SRAC !


Drawing in Color Classes with Albert White
EVERY Wednesday Starting January 19th
From 6-8pm
At SRAC, 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY

If you are looking for some basic drawing, painting, or advanced techniques with different mediums, Albert 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 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 at their own level. Born in Binghamton, White attended San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with honors from the Maryland Institute of Art. 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!

The Revolutionary War- the British Perspective,
by Robert Shepherd,PhD, Elmira College
Tuesday, February 1st, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
at SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

In 1779 - Generals Sullivan and Clinton received orders from General George Washington to come to our region and to battle the British and Native Americans. The entire campaign would be referred to by many today as one of the most important strategic efforts of the Revolutionary War. As a result, it is quite common in our region to hear about the Revolutionary War in relation to the Sullivan Campaign and from the American soldier or Native American perspective. However, on Tuesday, February 1, at 6:30 - 7:30pm, SRAC will host a very unique presentation on - "The Revolutionary War - The British Perspective" by Dr. Robert Shepherd from Elmira College. The talk will discuss the reactions in Britain and the rest of Europe toward the American Revolution, including those both for and against the American cause.

Dr. Shephard has been teaching European History at Elmira College since 1987, including courses on the Holocaust and on British, Russian, and women’s history, and seminars on Renaissance Italy, Tudor England, the French Revolution, and European Totalitarianism.

His research interests focus on early modern British political culture, and he has published articles in the Journal of Modern History, the Sixteenth Century Journal, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and Sex and Sexuality in the Pre-Modern West. Dr. Shephard has been a Regional Visiting Fellow at Cornell University and is currently the vice president of the International Sidney Society. He received the Gerald R. Rubio Award in 2005 for his article “The Political Commonplace Books of Sir Robert Sidney.”

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members and students. The admission to the SRAC Exhibit Hall is included in the admission fee for the event. SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY. For more information, email info@sracenter.org or call the Center at (607) 565-7960.


Jewelry & Beading Class with Ellen Sisco
Saturday February 5th,
11:30am – 1:30pm
SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

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, February 5th, 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. RSVP's are greatly appreciated by calling the Center at (607) 565-7960 or by emailing info@SRAcenter.org.


The Revolutionary War- the British Perspective, by Robert Shepherd,PhD, Elmira College.

The Revolutionary War- the British Perspective, by Robert Shepherd,PhD, Elmira College
Tuesday, February 1st
, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
at SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

In 1779 - Generals Sullivan and Clinton received orders from General George Washington to come to our region and to battle the British and Native Americans. The entire campaign would be referred to by many today as one of the most important strategic efforts of the Revolutionary War. As a result, it is quite common in our region to hear about the Revolutionary War in relation to the Sullivan Campaign and from the American soldier or Native American perspective.

However, on Tuesday, February 1, at 6:30 - 7:30pm, SRAC will host a very unique presentation on - "The Revolutionary War - The British Perspective" by Dr. Robert Shepherd from Elmira College. The talk will discuss the reactions in Britain and the rest of Europe toward the American Revolution, including those both for and against the American cause.

Dr. Shephard has been teaching European History at Elmira College since 1987, including courses on the Holocaust and on British, Russian, and women’s history, and seminars on Renaissance Italy, Tudor England, the French Revolution, and European Totalitarianism.

His research interests focus on early modern British political culture, and he has published articles in the Journal of Modern History, the Sixteenth Century Journal, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and Sex and Sexuality in the Pre-Modern West. Dr. Shephard has been a Regional Visiting Fellow at Cornell University and is currently the vice president of the International Sidney Society. He received the Gerald R. Rubio Award in 2005 for his article “The Political Commonplace Books of Sir Robert Sidney.”

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members and students. The admission to the SRAC Exhibit Hall is included in the admission fee for the event. SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY. For more information, email info@sracenter.org or call the Center at (607) 565-7960.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Renovations Continue at SRAC

For the past few months - we have been cleaning out the basement at SRAC. When we purchased the building in December 2007 (just three years ago!)- the basement was jam packed with old mildewed shelving and Dollar Store garbage. But folks - we are already outgrowing our main floor - and we needed to start making space for more things that we want to do at the Center - so that is what we are gong to do!

SRAC Basement Project:

Phase 1: Tom Vallilee has been working hard and long days for months getting the garbage out of the cellar which in the end filled TWO HEAPING 30-Yard dumpsters! (thank goodness we kept the conveyor belt!) COMPLETED.

Phase 2: We hired an industrial cleaning service today to scrub and wet vac the whole floor area (5,000 square feet!) COMPLETED.

Phase 3: We will be having the cement floor sealed and painted. IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO...

Phase 4: We will have all of the walls sealed and painted. IN THE COMING MONTHS

Phase 5: We will begin remodeling the space to facilitate classrooms, a workshop, storage space and still more space yet to be determined! Remember that this is the same size as the whole space we are using at the Center all over again so we have alot of space to work with! BY SUMMERTIME

Some of you may remember shopping in our basement when the building was Philly Sales! So get ready to revisit it again very soon but with no paint and supplies, lighting, or hardware areas!





In the meantime - - I hope that you enjoyed the pictures from today's floor cleaning and note the size of this space we are about to take on! (Did I mention that we are 100 % staffed by volunteers???)

SRAC - - - Where there is ALWAYS something going on!

Anyone that is interested can send donations to support this effort to SRAC Renovations Fund, PO Box 12, Sayre, PA 18840. (At SRAC - - just a little bit goes a LOOOONG way!)

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hurons - Brethren of the Susquehannocks

The people who ruled our region and the whole Susquehanna river by fending off the powerful Iroqouis Nation during at least most of the the 16th and 17th centuries were named "Susquehannocks" by Englishman Captain John Smith in 1608. The word Susquehanna meant "muddy river" and Susquehannocks meant "people who lived on the muddy river."

The Susquehannocks were said to have had at least five tribal nations located along the Susquehanna river system with several villages per nation. We know that they were very warlike and the only known nation to be feared by the Iroquois. In fact in at least one historical record that I have read, if someone happened to try to travel along one of the Susquehannock paths, they might very well find their brains bashed in by the great club that can be seen in Captain John Smith's illustration shown here....

It is commonly believed that the Susquehannock tribal nation called Carantouan by Champlian in 1615 had three villages in our region was also described by the Dutch in 1614 was located in our region along the NYS border at confluence of the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers.

The reason why the Susquehannocks have all but been forgotten in our local history before SRAC began re-educating our communities is because as of the late 1600's, the Susquehannock tribe began to dwindle as a result of of many years of war with the Iroquois and sickness and disease from the Europeans...

Note in the references below from the French priests that the French referred to them as Andastes, Andastogués, and people of Andastoerhonon and did not use the name Captain John Smith used(Susquehannocks):

"The Senecas also are intolerably insolent since they defeated the Andastes... & among these were some captives from Andastogué whom he baptized amid the fires in which they died....& In fact, since the Sonnontouans have utterly defeated the Andastogués, their ancient and most redoubtable foes, their insolence knows no bounds;..." (Vol. LIX. Lower Canada, Illinois, Ottawas 1667—1669) "

"Seven or eight years ago, we had here baptized an Andastoëronnon (these are tribes of the Huron language, who live in Virginia, where the English have their trade).[iv] After that time, this man having returned to his own country, we supposed that his faith must have been stifled in the midst of the impiety which prevails there, since he had no longer any support in the midst of a nation wholly infidel, and so remote from us that not even have we been able, for five or six years, to learn any news of it. ’

This winter we have learned, from a Huron who has returned thence, that the faith of this man from [Page 85] a strange land is as vigorous as ever, — that he makes public profession of it, and continues in his duty as much as if he [87] lived among a people quite Christian. We gave him in his Baptism the name of Estienne; his surname is Arenhouta."...(Vol. XXX.Hurons, Lower Canada:1667—1669)

"The Hurons send envoys to the Andastes, allied tribes along the Susquehanna, to ask aid against their foes. The latter, upon this appeal, request the hostile Iroquois to lay down their arms and consent to a peace." - (Jesuit Relations - PREFACE TO VOL. XXXIII : )

As you can read by the excerpt above - - as far away as the Huron country in Canada, this powerful tribe was well known and the Hurons were freely communicating with these people who were feared by everyone else ... Yet by the later 1600's they began to weaken...

"the Andastoerhonon, a nation in the direction of Virginia. These tribes, it is said, had been infected therewith by Ataentsic, whom they hold to be the mother of him who made the earth; that she had passed through all the cabins of two villages, and that at the second they had asked her, Now, after all, why is it that thou makest us die?" (Vol. XIV - Quebec, Hurons 1638)

By the later end of the 17th century - the Susquehannocks began to weaken to the point that the Iroquois tribes began to lose their fear of them:

“The 27th. Two Elders from Onnontagué bring the news of the return of their warriors, with nine Andastogué captives that were surprised while hunting. Two of them were given to Onneiout, — a Young man of twenty, and a woman. This woman was baptized at Onnontagué by Father Millet.

“The 30th. They begin to burn her over a slow fire, and prolong her torture for the space of two days and two nights, — because he for whom she was given was burned at Andastogué for that length of time. (CHAPTER VI. OF THE MISSION OF ST. FRANÇOIS XAVIER AT ONNEIOUT. Jesuit Relations – Vol. LIII (1669-1670))
As sickness and war continued to diminish their numbers, what was left of the Susquehannocks moved out of area and into southern PA in the region of Washington Borough (Lancaster County.) Later in 1763 - the last known group of Susquehannocks living in Cantestoga, PA as Christian farmers were murdered by a vigilante group called the Paxton Boys in retribution for a raid they had nothing to do with.

Because these people were at their height of power before the European contact and written records, much of the information about these people is somewhat of a mystery to us all today. Yet, because they are the tribe that ruled our area and they ARE such a mystery, I have over the years become very interested in the Susquehannocks, and still have many other questions about these people even today. One of the most pressing questions is:

WHERE DID THE SUSQUEHANNOCKS COME FROM?

It is commonly accepted by professional archaeologists and anthropologists that the area surrounding Spanish Hill, Tioga Point in Athens, PA and the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers was once the area of the "Proto-Susquehannock" culture. That is - where the Susquehannock culture originated - or where different cultures came together and later evolved into a distinct culture of people that were eventually referred to as the Susquehannock. Interestingly, the question of who the originating cultures were that formed the Susquehannocks has long been under debate. Questions like "Were they a clan broken off from one of the Iroquoian nations? Were they somehow infused with the Algonquin culture? Did they evolve from prior cultures in our region?" all continue to make this culture so interesting to research...

While I have read many reports trying to untangle their beginnings and ancestral connections, I would like to give readers my own theory as to at least one of the associated cultures that must be considered while untangling their mysterious beginnings... the Hurons.

The Hurons (Note: The early French explorers gave them this name, the Hurons actually call themselves Wendat. However - in order to be consistent with the historical records discussed here -- I will use the name Huron.) lived in Canada in and around the region of the Georgian Bay (Canada,) some 35o miles from our region and the Susquehannocks. However, the Hurons and Susquehannocks were known to have important ties with each other. Like the Susquehannocks, the Hurons were bitter enemies of the Iroquois people, but they both were still said to have an Iroquoian-style language. In fact, many historical accounts of the Susquehannock language claimed it was a derivation of Iroquoian but "much like the Huron."

Historic Records of Relationship. It is commonly accepted that the Hurons and Susquehannocks traded between themselves and had a relationship before the Europeans made contact. And, as many of you already know, I had an article published in in the PA Archaeologist in 2005 about the Susquehannock nation of Carantouan. In 1615, the French explorer Champlain sent his assistant Etienne Brule from Huronia to Carantouan to collect 500 Susquehannock warriors to assist the Hurons in a battle against the Onondaga nation. I was published making the argument that the pace that Brule came to meet with the people of Carantouan was at Spanish Hill located in South Waverly, PA, just three miles north of Tioga Point.

The important thing about the Brule event to me is that no tribe in our area is thought to have had so many able warriors that 500 of them would not be a huge part of their population available to protect their own villages. In fact, Champlain described Carantouan nation in dire need of warriors in 1615 when he said, "This nation is very warlike, as those of the nation of the Attigouautans maintain. They have only three villages, which are in the midst of more than twenty others, on which they make war without assistance from their friends..." (Champlain: Voyages)

As a result, the mere agreement that was made between the Hurons and the Susquehannocks in 1615 is a statement that their loyalty to one another was very great and worth the losses on the part of the Susquehannocks (and were quite reasonable to expect as a result of the agreement to send the warriors three days away.)

Still today, some professionals are in debate about the Carantouan story, and as a result seem to overlook this reference to their close relationship...And if this were the only time that the Hurons and Susquehannocks would join forces it could be considered a one time event. But with a little more research you can see that even in 1647 - 32 years later - we know that the Hurons still had an alliance with the Susquehannocks and that the Susquehannocks even acted as the intermediaries between the Huron and the Iroquois. To me, this clearly illustrates that this ongoing relationship between te Susquehannocks and the Hurons was above all others on historical record.

Artifacts. Recently I made a trip to the Huron Museum in Midland, Ontario. While it can be expected that many of our artifacts such as working tools, arrowheads, and gorgets would be quite similar, I did find a few other things that were such an amazing match that it seems that the same hands must have made one for the Hurons, and another for the Susquehannocks at the same time!

Here is a display of game stones and gorgets at the Huronia Museum - and anyone who is familiar with our region's artifacts will not find the ones found locally to be any different. In fact, the only item that seems somewhat uncommon to me is the center top circular game stone that has a drilled hole and incised circle and lines drawn into it...


However - a matching game stone with identical etching can be seen on display at SRAC in the Ted Keir collection! (Case 1)


Another unusual artifact that caught my eye in the Huronia Museum was the following pipe:


(note the lines below the eyes...)

But again - - SRAC has a pipe that matches the Huron pipe in our collection:

Ted Keir/ SRAC Collection (Sheshequin, PA)

And the story of these pipes doesn't end here...I in fact found yet another match in a recent book by Bill Engelbrecht of Buffalo State University, titled "Iroquoia." On page 58, (figure 27) - there is another pipe that matches these two pipes shown here. Bill also referred me to two other professionals about all three of these pipes and they both agree as well that all three pipes are a match with one another. Simply put, this means that these pipes have been found in a region that covers at least 360 miles- from Canada to Sheshequin, PA:



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Susquehannock spirals and hoops manufactured by Indigenous peoples from sheet copper or copper alloy actually are also quite commonly found in Huron sites 300-some miles away.


Cornell grad Jasmine Gollup explained the cultural affiliation of the copper spirals in a recent presentation about the Susquehannocks stating:
"Spirals and hoops, manufactured by Indigenous peoples from sheet copper or copper alloy occur almost exclusively on Iroquoian sites within the Susquehanna and adjacent river drainages (Bradley and Childs 2007:290). Recognized as an early contact period artifact, these items are found on sixteenth century sites throughout northeastern North America (Bradley and Childs 2007:209). They spread into Monongahela (western Pennsylvania) and the Niagara frontier areas in the late sixteenth century and are found as far away as Huronia and Fort Ancient (Ohio River Valley) by the seventeenth (Bradley and Childs 2007:292-3). As a result of their earliest known location (along the Susquehanna River) spirals and hoops have been culturally associated with the Susquehannocks (Bradley and Childs 2007:292)."
Further research reveals that 2 brass spirals in fact were uncovered at the Englebert site in Nichols, and several have been found in the Tioga Point/Athens region as well. Note: All of the copper artifacts found at the Englebert site can be seen in the NYS BULLETIN, Number 61: July 1974 where it was reported:
"Artifact No. 4 (Figure 2, center, right) is one of two spiral ornaments that, along with the two tubes, formed part of the headdress for Burial 71 in Feature 715 (front cover). The ornament was formed by coiling a copper rod into a flat spiral. The interesting feature is that the round cross section of the rod was made by coiling together two strips of heavy copper sheet (Figure 9). Corrosion has obscured the external evidence of this composite construction. The copper itself is fine grained, fully annealed, and contains numerous copper oxide inclusions, large and small (Figure 10). It is probably smelted copper. Although this ornament was found in the same burial as No. 3, the metal in the two objects differs in grain size, distribution of oxide, and hardness (Table 1), showing that different pieces of copper were used as source material." (Dunbar & Ruhl:1974)
I find the kinsmanship and the many other associations and points that I have made here - that is that out of the known tribes to have existed during the time of the Susquehannocks - there were no better or loyal brethren than the Huron people to be important.

By looking outside the localized and constrained area that some professionals insist on using today in trying to understand this unique culture - I believe that many current questions about the Susquehannocks can be uncovered.

I look forward to your feedback - - and appreciate that you post your feedback using the comments area below so that we all can share the knowledge that we can can gain from this discussion. I will also post any emails that are sent to me on this topic in the comments section for this post in order that everyone can share the information freely.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SRAC Journal: Volume 6, Issue 3

Packed with great information about our local history and archaeology, the SRAC Journal has become popular with many readers across the United States! This volume's topics include a thorough study of pestles found in our region, Anne Bailey, frontier scout, a Cornell student's work with SRAC in analyzing the ProtoSusquehannocks, new SRAC collections and so much more:

(just click the image below to start reading!)



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