Monday, December 31, 2007
We are ready to start working on the front area space this Saturday to get it ready for our gift shop/ visitor center. This will take several workshops, and we will continue on this project every Saturday until we are ready to open our doors!
Work will include painting, small construction work, and cleaning. Just tell us what you want to do and we will be happy to oblige!
Seriously, we hope that you will find the time to stop in and help us for an hour or two. We will be working from 10am - 2pm at 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY.
Call 607-565-2536 if you need more information or have questions.
Hope to see you there!
Friday, December 28, 2007
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...
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
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Our hope was that they would buy the land in question or that they would pay the owner for rights to the land and have an easement placed on it defining what the land could be used for. While the preservation effort did not in the end occur, it was my introduction to what an incredible organization the Archaeological Conservancy is. It was also my reality check that sometimes it would be better to have a local organization in place to build awareness about the need for preservation and was indeed another reason why SRAC was formed...
Why I bring this up now is that for Christmas, I received a subscription to the Archaeological Conservancy magazine, "American Archaeology," and as I initially leafed through the pages with incredible pictures of sites around our country, I stopped dead on page 31 when I saw the image of a familiar artifact:
Many of you know the artifact that I am referring to is SRAC's birdstone that we use in all of our branding efforts. SRAC Board member Dick Cowles's dad Ellsworth Cowles had it in his collection at one time. It was found at the Shepard Hills Golf Course (just north of Spanish Hill) it was uncovered by some workers while digging up a sand trap about 80 years ago :
For those that are not familiar with birdstones, they were thought to be an atlatl weight, and actually came in many different designs. The most unique are those shown above, called the "popeyed" birdstone.
The article from the Archaeological Conservancy reports that their popeyed birdstone was found in 2006 at the Danbury site in northern Ohio on the edge of Lake Erie, and goes on to report that the "burial which was dated to the Early Woodland period, (approximately 1200–500 B.C~ Twigg:2007) contained three individuals and a range of artifacts including a birdstone carved from gray slate(shown above)...the presence of these objects suggest a level of ritual that is rare for early woodland sites"(American Archaeology:2007)
Because the burial where the birdstone was found in Waverly was not recorded that I know of, or dated for that matter, I guess I somehow just thought that the birdstone that was found there was from a much later Mound Builder culture...but the Danbury article dates the popeyed birdstone found at their site as Early Woodland(approximately 1200–500 B.C~ Twigg:2007)...which would by my calculations make the culture most likely the earliest of the Mound Builders...the Adena.
Please note that popeyed birdstones are said to be more frequently found in Late Archaic sites, as opposed to Early Woodland sites. But I think the point here is that they were used at the point of a "renaissance period "of a very early kind. That is that they are found at sites of a people who were nearing the end of the "hunting and gathering" mode of life and began early agricultural efforts, made basic pottery, built living structures and spent what seems to be alot of time with ritualistic pursuits. Specifically, the Adena are most well noted because of their great "rounded pyramid-shaped" or conical burial mounds.
The mounds have been found as far east as the Atlantic shores and as far west as the Mississippi. (The great Miamisburg Mound (shown above) in Miamisburg, Ohio is worth the visit by the way...)
We actually have more than a small amount of locally found Adena points in our SRAC collection that we have identified already, and let's not forget that the Adena were also great users of red ochre (ocher) ...
It would seem that even though we have no evidence of large conical mounds left in our immediate area, that the evidence in the form of artifacts that we can easily muster shows quite convincingly that the Adena culture was in fact in our region.
I hope that you can see that we at SRAC are continuing to compile this evidence in our collections for the very purpose of allowing these types of trends to be available to researchers and students of our local prehistory. The truth is that along with the The Archaeological Conservancy many states and communities are finally taking ownership AND RESPONSIBILITY and are currently preserving sites and finally celebrating and sharing just these types of stories about the early people who lived in their areas.
I think it is about time we do the same.
Lastly, special thanks to Katie Fogel for a very thoughtful and thought provoking Christmas present!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Just click the following image to go to the video page which should begin playing as fast as the "Youtube" videos I know you watch!
Or you can use the following URL: http://www.sracenter.org/clips/Ted_Lockheed.asp
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Bob Fox was a collector in the region surrounding Athens, PA for most of his life, and up until his recent death was proud to show the evidence of this region that he himself had found and recorded.
When we were asked to visit the Fox home and collection recently, board members Ted Keir, Tom Vallilee and I all were pleasantly surprised to see that Bob had placed a number on literally all of the artifacts that he had found over the decades. These numbers are listed in a little notebook that shows each number relating to a specific site or location where that artifact was found. If memory serves me right, Bob had around 30 - some sites recorded.
This puts Bob's collection at a very important place in our collection, because it can without a doubt be useful to researchers to know what was found at these sites in our region.
This collection is also a wonderful message to SRAC that the word is getting out about what we are trying to do. That is - to not put our evidence on the auction block and instead to preserve it for the sake of our community and furthering research about our prehistoric past.
The Fox Collection - (which it will be known as from this point on at SRAC) is the fifth donation of evidence that we have received. The first of which was by our co-founder Mr. Dick Cowles of thousands of artifacts (evidence) that belonged to his father, Ellsworth Cowles that covers sites around Waverly, NY, Spanish Hill, Athens, PA, Big Flats, even Corning. The second was the Bernard Safford Collection, from Waverly, NY but includes hundreds of artifacts from sites located in Sheshequin, PA and Ithaca, NY which we have used in schools around the region and at many events for kids per his wishes. The third was the Sloat Collection which includes evidence from a specific site in Milltown, PA. The fourth was the Les Rolfe Collection, which includes an authentic Birch Bark canoe as well as 250 framed Vestal Points, and some miscellaneous artifacts from a PA site. As you can see, we are again honored to receive yet another incredible local collection - the Bob Fox collection which is a wonderful addition to our materials.
I want to personally thank Randy Pettit and all of Bob Fox's relatives who made the decision to donate the evidence to SRAC. We are honored to receive the gift and take the stewardship of the evidence you have entrusted to us very seriously.
Make no mistake -
We hope that our local collectors continue to fieldwalk and enjoy their collections. Without them, we would have very little evidence of our Native Indian past left in our community. All we ask is that they consider planning ahead. As many of you already know, many of our local collections have been lost in the past by ending up at auction houses at which point the evidence was lost forever.
SRAC was founded for this very purpose - to allow our private collectors a place where their collections can be housed in their name forever when they are ready to consider a new home for them at some point. If something should happen and they have not, we ask that the family consider their loved ones life's work as a wonderful way to have them remembered in their community, as well as a way to preserve evidence of our region's past.
We at SRAC believe it is OUR history. Without our local collectors and philanthropists, SRAC would not have been founded nor been able to have the successes it has to date.
Thank you to all who have given to SRAC in whatever form was possible. We take it as a vote of confidence, and will continue to work hard to continue to be deserving of it.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Some of the actual yet today laughable scientific explanations for who the Mound Builders REALLY were were:
- The Lost Israelites
- People of Atlantis
- Prince Madoc's descendants
Did you notice these were all "White People"?
Anyway - the good news is that it is commonly accepted now that the ancestors of the Native Indians now known as "Iroquois" and "Cherokee" and even "Winnebagos" (Ho-Chunk) were some of the descendants of the people who once built mounds to facilitate their religious, political, and social structures and way of life.
Another earlier misunderstanding that still exists today in the minds of many students of local history and archaeology is WHERE these mounds were found. The following is an excerpt from E.G. Squier, Ancient Monuments of New York.
Below is a map that is the result of a study sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and compiled by Cyrus Thomas in 1891. Each orange dot represents an ancient earthwork that existed or was recorded in 1891 for this huge piece of work done in order to preserve the information about them before they were totally annihilated...and one of these works was Spanish Hill in South Waverly, PA.
You can also see by this map and the number of dots on it that the idea that the Native Indians always lived in small groups and had no cities or great trade or cultural centers, etc is simply not true.
In fact - I can show you several of these incredible earthworks that still exist - right now:
- Conical (Adena) Mounds
- Geometric (Hopewell) Mounds
- Effigy (Fort Ancient) Mounds
- Temple (Mississipian) Mounds
If you prefer to just watch videos - - you can pick them out from my SpanishHill.com video page.As you can see - we have been doing a lot of work that has taken us far outside our region, to learn more about our own region.
On the other hand, we have found several caches of Flint Ridge, Ohio "trade blades" right in our region, these shown below were part of a cache of 127 blades plowed up in Erwin, NY around 1850. It is thought that these were a buried "stash" of an ancient tradesman who hid the bulk of his wares in order to keep his load light, but accessible when a deal was made nearby.
We believe that examples such as these shows that the western branch of the Susquehanna was not the only route used by the ancients to live, travel and trade by...and that in fact just as Squier had noted above, that they traveled as far east as the country of the Onnondaga and as far south as the Valley of Wyoming - - which would place them in our region of the Twin Tiers of Southern NY and Northern PA...in other words - right here.
The overwhelming amount of evidence that SRAC already has in their collections shows that people entered our region THOUSANDS of years ago, and that it was a place that was used by many cultures until it was controlled by the great Susquehannocks (who were later pushed southward by the Iroquois) at the time the white man first appeared on the scene.
Right now we are not sure who are responsible for the great embankments that enclosed ten acres atop Spanish Hill, or for many other earthworks to include those found just outside Elmira, NY...But we at SRAC believe that we can be part of the TRUTH that still alludes us... and that we are getting closer every day...
By storing up what is left of our local collections and housing them here for our communities and other researchers to learn from, we believe that we can support the continuation of research and education about our early prehistory that is yet to be solved conclusively, while celebrating the rich heritage that exists here. To read more about the Mound Builder Myth and the earthworks found east of the Mississippi, click here. To see some of the artifacts found in our region, click here.
What I am saying is that we are at an important place in our history right now that will affect generations to come in how they understand our region's past. I wish I could get you to turn off the reality shows for a while folks and join SRAC in an incredibly interesting and exciting quest of our own that is alot more fulfilling than being a couch potato.
The fact is that we are not just preserving history - we have the opportunity to make it ~ and all you have to do to be a part of it is to click here.
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Friday, December 14, 2007
Updates - THANK YOU TO TRIPLE V ELECTRIC! (SRAC member - Ron Vandyke) We have had our electric service basically redone and will have phone service in today so that our security system will be up and running and we can get the PC's moved in. They are also adding switches at three points throughout the main floor, and they disconnected the big honker lights that were sucking so much electric and the lighting is just fine without them...
Tom and Inga have worked to insulate all of the windows around the building and Tom even saved a couple of windows that were ready to drop out! So the building is actually warm now! We have tarped off the upstairs too to keep the heat from being lost up there...
Les Rolfe is sewing the flame resistant fabric to be the fake wall acrossed the front of our area to block off the back work area and the gift shop visitor center...
Larry Frisbie and I talked last weekend about the floor, just trying to nail him down on when he will be available to do that...once Larry and Les are done...we can work on laying out the gift shop and visitor center space, and if all goes well with the grant have the $$ to start work on the public restrooms in mid January....
So even though the workshop is canceled - -trust me - - ALOT has been accomplished this week! Remember - - We have had our building for JUST TEN DAYS!
Big thanks to Toby Quinn - Jess's son for taking on the position of "snow removal technician" for SRAC - - we are lucky to have him just two blocks away and on call for this position!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
On a side note, Hal and Janet Lambert have also been supporters of my research on Spanish Hill from the beginning and if it hadn't been for his busy schedule, Hal would have been one of the first board members of SRAC.
As a result, you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Hal and Janet wanted to donate 10 bags of these very special arrowheads made of solid fine chocolate to sell to raise funds for SRAC as a Christmas present to us.
We are going to sell these for $10.00 a bag (plus shipping) until they are gone...(Sorry - autographed picture of Ted not included this time around!)
Click here to buy your bag before they are gone!
Thanks again to Hal and Janet Lambert!
To view all the other items you can buy from SRAC, visit our gift shop today! Thanks in advance for your support!
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Monday, December 10, 2007
Here is a way to support SRAC and get some great books at great prices (tax included in all sales amounts!) at the same time!
by C. Hale Sipe -
A factual account of the Indian history of the America’s Eastern
Frontier and the contributions made by many outstanding chiefs in shaping our
history. Originally published in 1927, this 569 page book is one of the classics
on Eastern Frontier Indian history. From the formation of the Iroquois
confederation in 1570 through Cornplanter’s death in 1836, Sipe discusses the
tribes that inhabited Pennsylvania and how their forced migration westward
(particularly the Delaware and Shawnee) across the Allegheny mountains of
Pennsylvania into the Ohio country lit the fires that would keep the western
frontier ablaze for the next forty years.
-$30.00 buy it now!
Like the image? we also have the poster of this - buy it now! "The book is a newer account of the Carantouan research that tells the historical story with with more references and maps, documents and images and then tells all of the stories that people have asked me to tell when I do presentations, to include those efforts to preserve the hill, packed full of actual letters and documents that I think the reader will find VERY interesting...from Ellsworth Cowles, Barry Kent, Warren K. Moorehead, General John S Clark, Ted Keir, LD Shoemaker, the Murrays, there are so many interesting stories to tell just about these people and how they effected our local history...and the hill.... and then I continue with my research into the Mound Builder culture and what I have concluded from it as it relates to the hill and the story of Carantouan...and what I have come to believe Spanish Hill actually was used for." 100 pages - $20.00 - buy it now!
Diplomacy and Indian Gifts:
"The book is a newer account of the Carantouan research that tells the historical story with with more references and maps, documents and images and then tells all of the stories that people have asked me to tell when I do presentations, to include those efforts to preserve the hill, packed full of actual letters and documents that I think the reader will find VERY interesting...from Ellsworth Cowles, Barry Kent, Warren K. Moorehead, General John S Clark, Ted Keir, LD Shoemaker, the Murrays, there are so many interesting stories to tell just about these people and how they effected our local history...and the hill.... and then I continue with my research into the Mound Builder culture and what I have concluded from it as it relates to the hill and the story of Carantouan...and what I have come to believe Spanish Hill actually was used for."
100 pages - $20.00 - buy it now!
The French-English Rivalry for Indian Loyalties during the French & Indian War Years by Wilbur R. Jacobs -
It seems only once in a lifetime that a book comes along that really unlocks many of the mysteries of a subject you have been studying for as long as you can remember. Diplomacy and Indian Gifts is just such a book! From the beginning, I was always intrigued by the old Indian custom of giving and receiving gifts and how this practice was used both for and against them! During the course of the French and Indian War years, thousands of pounds sterling was expended by both the French and the British in their diplomatic competition to buy Indian friendship and loyalty through gift giving. Indian gifts and their givers indeed made diplomatic history. Exceptional Reference Book: 208pp
Limited Edition Hardback for just -$30.00 buy it now!
The Lenape and Their Legends by Daniel G. Brinton -
The Walum Olum, is considered a classical piece of study. This very scarce and hard to find book was published in 1885, and because of its historical significance, is now republished for the serious students of Eastern Frontier Indian history. It begins by discussing the history of the other Algonkin and Iroquois tribes of the East, then gets into the meat of the book with major chapters on Lenape history, their literature and language, myths and traditions, and the Walum Olum, the ancient migration story of the Delaware; Brinton’s most valuable contribution to our understanding of Lenape history. The Walum Olum portion of the book consists of over 70 pages of the pictographic story in bright red on one side of the page with the detailed translation on the right. He finishes with a 20 page vocabulary of Delaware to English word translations and copious notesComplete Text & Symbols of The Walum Olum Dark Brown Hardback w/Gold Embossing.1,000 copies…Limited Edition, Numbered Hardcover: 261pp
-$40.00 buy it now!
And who cannot find someone on their list that would not be happy to take the trip with John Heckewelder?
Thirty Thousand Miles with John Heckewelder,
by Ed. Paul A. Wallace-
This collection of Heckewelder materials, gathered by one of America’s great writer/historians, Paul Wallace, follows America’s most observant early traveler, John Heckewelder through the Eastern woods as he recorded the most significant knowledge we have today on the Indian life and pioneer history of our Eastern frontier. He writes: “The sure way to obtain ideas, and a true knowledge of the characters, customs, manners, etc., of the Indians, and to learn their history, is to dwell among them for some time, and having acquired their language, the information wished for will be obtained in the common way; that is, by paying attention to their discourses with each other on different subjects, and occasionally asking them questions; always watching for the proper opportunity, when they do not suspect your motives, and are disposed to
be free and open with you." Limited Edition, Numbered Hardcover: 512pp
INCLUDES TWO SIDED 15" X 23" MAP
- $50.00 buy it now!
Historical Map of Pennsylvania: with a History of Indian Treaties and Land Titles - Edited by P.W. Sheafer & R.R. Wenning 1000 Limited Edition, Gold Embossed Hardback and Full color Map, The “purchasing” of Indian land was done through a series of land treaties and eventually resulted in one of the bloodiest periods in Pennsylvania history. This “owning” of PA was a complicated, confusing and time-consuming process in PA history that usually took years to complete. You cannot understand Pennsylvania history completely without understanding this bloody progression from Indian land to settler’s land and its effect on Indian-white relations. As we put together this interesting and colorful history on the “taking or purchasing” of Pennsylvania land from the Indians, we have attempted to shed some light on this process through the pre-revolutionary war history of PA.
$45.00 - buy it now!
Want Just Poster Sized Map ? Just $20.00! - buy it now!
Another incredible deal we have for researchers interested in trade goods is -
Trade Ornament Usage Among the Native Peoples
of Canada , a Source Book - Karlis Karklins -
The borders of Canada did not exist when trade goods were being used. This book is a must read source book for anyone trying to understand the ornamental trade goods used.
An incredible deal at $20.00 - buy it now!
More interested in the events of the Revolutionary War? How about -
Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier 1753-1758 by William A.
Hunter - Limited Edition Hardcover: Seldom does a book come along with the appeal and interest a Forts of the Pennsylvania Frontier 1753-1758. With Pennsylvania’s Provincial Quaker controlled pacifist government slow to react to the mounting tension from Indian attacks and the on going French and Indian War on its wilderness borders, pressure was growing from frontier settler’s for protection on Pennsylvania’s western borders. Unwillingly, Pennsylvania began an extensive program of military action culminating in the building of forts on its frontier. By 1756 more than a dozen forts garrisoned by paid PA troops marked for the first time a boundary between white frontier settlements and a hostile wilderness. 596 pages with 12 blank pages in the back of the book for notes. Navy blue hardcover with gold embossing on front and spine. Edition limited to 2,000 copies
-$50.00 - buy it now
The Sullivan Campaign by Ellsworth Cowles - Ellsworth Cowles wrote articles for the local newspapers to celebrate the Sullivan Campaign centennial. He did this by writing articles filled historical documentation in sync with the dates throughout 1779. There is one article exactly one year from the others in 1978, which gives you little known info about how Sullivan might not have ever marched at all. This is 72 pages including references
- $20.00 buy it now!
Revolutionary Rangers - Daniel Morgan's Riflemen and their Role on the Northern Frontier 1778-83 by Richard Crosse w/ introduction by Harry Swan, 221pp paperback. Here is the complete account of the riflemen and their weapons, as well as the formation and battle record of this elite regiment in upstate New York during Sullivan's Campaign. Of special interest is an analysis of the life of the legendary Timothy Murphy. Strengthen your understanding of the colonial struggle for independence. Illustrated with photos, drawings, endnotes and a full-name index.
Last but not least we also have -
Journals of the Military Expedition of Maj. General John Sullivan - Sullivan Expedition against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 -Frederick Cook, 582pp paperback, In August 1779, Sullivan began a scorched earth policy against the troublesome Iroquois, who had sided with the British, burning every village in his path from Tioga(PA) into central New York. This collection of 26 officers' journals on the expedition, includes CD with 8 maps, official reports, rosters plus a new every-name index. Important work on the Indian wars of the American Revolution.$45.00 -buy it now!
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Sunday, December 9, 2007
What a GREAT Saturday moving party!
Who would have thought we would have had such a great turnout for our first workshop Saturday in our new building?
On Saturday, December 8th, we had 15 people volunteer time to help us use two U-Haul trucks and move furniture that was being stored in three different locations to our new building. Special thanks to Joe Vaselli, Ken Myer, and Rick Fiacco for scheduling time on their Saturday to allow us to come and to finally pick up all of the items that we had in storage at their respective locations!
The Village of Waverly welcomed us by blocking off the parking areas around our building in order for our trucks to easily park and to allow us the easiest access to unload.
Our Inga Welles kept everyone organized and as each team came in, made sure that the floor was well managed to keep things moving.
Tom Valillee and Jack Rowe (above) lead the team of movers with the first truck which included myself, Dave Santas, Mike Bunyak, and Les Rolfe.
While Duane Welles led the truck for the second team which included Jessica and Joe Quinn, Luke Rae, and Mike Geiss.
Back at the building, Inga, Susan Fogel, Glora Reigal (who also drove truck for us for a while!) and Dick Cowles organized, cleaned and kept things going there...
At lunch we were pleasantly surprised by our new neighbors at the Rail House (Ruth Burgess and employee, Caroline) who made and donated two pizzas to feed our crews! THANK YOU!
We also had several people stop in to welcome us and to see how we were doing. Don and Carol Merrill stopped in and stayed a while and even made a donation while they were there.
SRAC is so blessed to have so many friends that have come to our side in times of need. I want to personally thank all that came out on Saturday and invite all that are interested to join us this coming Saturday (the 15th) to continue working on getting the building in order.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I want to thank you so very much for extending your ideas and resources to me as I helped with a Native Indian Studies Cub Scout activity and field trip back in November. I also learned quite a bit myself!
Our lesson began with your trifold of The Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash), showing the intelligence of how the Indians grew their crops together and how each plant depended on each other to thrive...which is a model to us all as we live out our lives. One of the pictures in the trifold showed how the Indians would dry out their corn in their long houses, which was reinforced as the kids discovered the previous Saturday as they crafted a paper long house as an activity at the Tioga Point Museum, which you suggested to me for our field trip around Native Indian Studies.
After that lesson, we read the Thanksgiving story about Squanto and the events around his lifetime, which then followed by each child having the opportunity to grind corn that you grew in your own garden (just as the Indians did) with your natural stone mortar and stone pestal that were once used by Indians in our area. What a rich experience that was to show, touch, and also use the tools that were used every day and so very long ago.
So I want to thank you again for your support and pursuing your passion of native indian history and making it more incredible each and every day with your website, your Drumbeats in Time events, your research, books, your teachings, your networking with other historians, and most importantly your sharing. Keep up the great work--this snowball you've started just keeps growing and growing-- and that is exhilarating!
May your torch continue to burn and that your torch is passed on for many other generations to come. "
With many thanks and pride,
Janice Bennett (SRAC member)
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After incorporating in Pa and getting our 501c3 in 2005, we finally got enough saved up to have enough to put down on a place we can call our own! ~~WHEW!!!~
Right now I am working on two grant requests, one for our public restrooms and one for basic seed money to start renovations in the rest of the main floor. We also have a couple of other requests in for monies to help us with some basic expenses of the startup, printing, and so on...But none of these grants will pay for the basic help we need to clean, paint, move things in and so on.
That kind of help can only come from those of you who choose to offer the help.
We have decided to make the next few Saturdays workshop days for SRAC and we hope you can muster up some help for us.
This Saturday (December 8th) from around 9am til 6pm, stop in for an hour or two....we will need help cleaning, painting, doing some light construction, and moving furniture that we had stored until we could get into the building...but hey Inga might have some other things to do as well! Trust me when I say we have something for everyone - and it will be a chance for you to see what we are up to and chat a while!
If you have questions, please call us at 607-565-2536.
Hope to see you Saturday!
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to read that article - - click here.
I just received this commentary and thought it was interesting and wanted to share it...I really had never considered the fact that ocher colors could have been manipulated.
- Don M.(SRAC member)
Monday, December 3, 2007
Since then SRAC has been formed by a group of us who really feel that there is a need in our area to educate our surrounding communities of all ages.
You may not know this , but SRAC has spoken to elementary schools as well as nursing homes. We in fact send a bunch of our newsletters every month to a local senior care community. We have also spoke in the local high school as well as any other community group that has invited us! Here is a letter from a person who attended our presentation at Lockheed Martin last week:
"Deb and Ted, Thank you so much for the interesting and educational presentation you gave at Lockheed Martin last week. I could have listened to Ted all afternoon. You inspired me to join SRAC. I have a life-long interest in Native American culture. I will plan to visit the new museum in Waverly as soon as it is open. I have a few points that I would love to have Ted look at some time. One is a spear point that was actually found in the Susquehanna in Afton, NY. " - Thanks again, Tom Moberg
We also have a huge display case set up in the local elementary school filled with artifacts that the teachers can actually take out and use for hands on learning. Additionally, we created an online learning module about those artifacts for teachers to use. This is because we have had certain parts of our collection donated with the expressed wish that the artifacts be used with kids, and we believe it is a great thing to do.
We also loan out a a smaller display of artifacts and learning materials to go with them for boy scout troops, teachers, and even teaching students that may want to use them for a shorter period of time upon request.
Here is a letter that we just received from Jason Munn, who is working on his Master's in education and whom we loaned out artifacts and learning materials for a presentation he was doing towards that goal.
"Kudos and Bravo to the SRAC and Deb Twigg! Thank you so much for the educational materials that you provided me with. The presentation my group and I gave on the Andastes was a big success. The audience consisted of about 30 education professionals all in a graduate class on multiculturalism in Education at Mansfield University. I think that we presented them with quite a few eye-openers including the Andaste's themselves, John Smith's account, and the history of Spanish Hill. The hands-on materials and artifacts you provided us with really brought the presentation home as well. There was much discussion and interest generated following the presentation on the indigenous tribes of the area and how advanced they were along with local history in general. It is wonderful to know that there are groups like the SRAC and the people involved with it that care so greatly about preserving our local history, and what a history it is! I think that the audience took away a sense of that history and hopefully will want to educate their classes about it as well. Thanks again and keep up the great work!" - Jason Munn
If you would like to sign out some educational materials and artifacts for a school project and or to have SRAC come to your school (in our region,) give us a call at 607-727-3111 or email us at info@SRACenter.org!
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Saturday, December 1, 2007
Early in the week, board member Jessica Quinn had notified us that 30 - some outdoor plastic chairs had been donated to us from the Church of the Redeemer in Sayre, PA and Mike Bunyak - SRAC member picked them up and delivered them to our storage area. Also, Dick Cowles has been finishing up plans on removing windows and casings out of a building and renting a lift to extract 8-10 huge display cases out if a third story window in the old Corning/Painted Post museum in Erwin, NY! (They were donated to us by the Corning Painted Post Museum and that is the way they were placed in the building years ago!)
Tuesday board members Ted Keir and Dick Cowles spoke at the Southern Tier Retired Lions Club luncheon meeting in Fisherville, NY. They gave out newsletters and SRAC magnets and Ted gave his "Woolly Mammoth" slide show program about a dig he was part of at Spring Lake, near Wyalusing, PA.
Wednesday, Ted Keir picked me up at work and we made a trip over to Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY, and did a luncheon presentation for 120 staff members. We also brought a carload of Ted's artifacts, and it was a big hit. The following is a photo from that event:
As they entered the auditorium, we allowed the staff to come in and walk around the artifacts and then they had a buffet lunch while we presented. I did a talk about SRAC and our mission. Ted followed by giving the audience a great chance to hear him talk about the artifacts that we brought, what they were believed to be used for, and many times where he had found them. This item shown in Ted's hand below is part of a baby woolly mammoth tooth that was found locally.
Many Lockheed employees stayed after the program to ask questions as well. Unfortunately, I take vacation time from my real job for this stuff and had to get back, or I am sure we could have stayed quite a bit longer!
Thursday was spent getting ready for the upcoming events on Friday and Sunday...which involves printing and binding more SRAC books, making more raffle tickets and raffle baskets and getting inventory and rocks ready to be transported. We also were notified by another local business owner who has around 30 large tempered glass shelves and some miscellaneous furniture that we need to get a truck and pick up next week, so we had to find the volunteers to get that planned out. Lastly I was called by our lawyer and we need to do some last minute paperwork and planning for our closing on our new building next week!
Friday was an event for the kids at the Lynch/Bustin School in Athens, PA which board member Inga Welles headed up for SRAC and the Chehanna Rock Club with Ted Keir. It was a kids night out and hundreds of kids attended. SRAC had three raffle baskets in a FREE raffle - the raffle tickets were just to fill out their names and contact info to drop in the basket, and then they kept the other half of the ticket with our website and blog address to learn more about us.
Inga and Ted also had the kids making fossils with shells and clay and digging in sand for a scoop filled with different minerals and other cool stuff. Here is Inga below with one of the friends she made at the event:
Friday evening for me was filled with more paperwork, (mostly more printing and binding ~ ugh!) and then I had to balance the SRAC checking acct for the past month as well as input and mail out the membership packets to the latest memberships we received this week. Oh - yeh - on my way home from work, I also met with a teacher who was returning some artifacts, a display board, etc that SRAC loaned to him for a presentation he was doing for Master's degree earlier this week. (stay tuned for more on this later!)
And so there you have a quick and dirty account of the past week in the life of SRAC -Whew!
I hope that you can see just how committed and active we are in our mission and our surrounding communities....Just this week we covered an area that stretched from as far west as Fisherville, NY, as far east as Owego, NY, and as far south as Athens, PA, and will be in Sayre tomorrow (Sunday) at the Craft Fair all day.
We are really blessed to have the board that we have with the different talents they bring to our organization, but it doesn't stop there - - we also have a great bunch of 100 members of which many volunteer to help us at events and setups, moving and so on...The neat thing is that we are a family in many ways already, just because we all have worked so hard together for the past years to get us to where we are today. I guess what I am trying to say is that while many members show their support for SRAC by being a part of one of our most important annual sources of revenues - memberships, I am surprised at how many our our members also want to physically be involved with our efforts in the community.
And this is why I am excited to get the keys to our new building. SRAC is "chomping at the bit" to do even more that a location of our own will allow us to do.
If all goes well - we will have the keys to our new home early next week, and SRAC will begin another new chapter in our existence...I hope you consider being a part of the excitement today!
I redid our whole SRACenter.org website last weekend and you can even join online now!
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The east side facing us in the picture above shows where they removed the side for highway fill. In fact, they were going to take the whole hill for highway fill at one time, but a bunch of concerned citizens teamed up with Mr. Ellsworth Cowles went to the state archaeologist and had that plan revamped to only take the side. Ellsworth also made some audio tapes seemingly for the radio to support the cause - You can listen to the first clip here and the second clip here in my podcasts in iTunes.
The way that the state archaeologist was convinced to change the highway fill plans was by having Ellsworth bring actual artifacts from Spanish Hill itself. You see, Ellsworth was our local amateur archaeologist and well noted historian for over 50 years, and he actually found the ancient village site that was located at the foot of Spanish Hill in 1933.
Ellsworth also was convinced that he had found an effigy shape of a horned animal around a fire pit made of coconut sized granite boulders that were not native to the river flats area that they were found on. Here is Ellsworth's drawing of the effigy hearth -
And here is an actual photo of the effigy hearth:
I found it strange then as I was doing so much work to uncover information about the hill..I mean it didn't exist anymore for the average person to find - and even more important - why wasn't I told about all this when I was there on my field trip in fourth grade? But when I fianlly read the past PA archaeologist Barry Kent's book "Susquehanna's Indians" the light finally came on - THIS was the source that said that Spanish Hill was not the site of Carantouan. (Which I later rebuked in PA Archaeologist) You see, I had studied enough to know what I was reading in this book was clearly incorrect. Strangely, I found myself in a place of knowing that although Mr. Kent knew ALOT about the Susquehannocks, he did not do the research I had concerning Carantouan and/or Spanish Hill, or the two sources he uses to make his claims.
Even worse, in just a few paragraphs over pages 300 and 301 in that book, Mr. Kent had closed the door on Spanish Hill and the story of Carantouan, and had made a comment about a local amateur archaeologist and historian, Mr. Ellsworth Cowles that I could not forget, because when I read this paragraph about Ellsworth, it sounded like a personal attack:
- "...Cowles conducted investigations in the vicinity of Spanish Hill. As a result, the Carantouan myth continued to have at least some local perpetuation." (Kent:1984)
I had to wonder, "Why such strong feelings?" "Why so disrespectful to Mr. Cowles?" And most importantly...."Why call a documented historical event, a MYTH?"
By early spring in 2004, I had contacted Bobby Rockwell of the Rockwell Museum in Corning and asked him if he had any info on Ellsworth Cowles. Sadly, he told me that Ellsworth had passed in 1992, but his son Dick was alive and well in Caton, NY, and Bobby asked Dick to allow me to call on him. I did so a few months later, and to my surprise, Dick had all of his dad's artifacts still in his basement (which became the base artifact collection for SRAC later,) along with documents, letters, maps and just about everything that you could imagine...
When I finally brought up the Barry Kent quote about Ellsworth, his son Dick pulled out some old letters between Ellsworth and Ted Keir, who in 1984 had submitted a request to the PA Historical and Museum Commission to preserve Spanish Hill as a historical landmark. Interestingly, Barry Kent's book came out in 1984 as well, and in these letters that I read, Ted and Ellsworth actually were discussing what Kent had said about Spanish Hill and Carantouan, as well as what he said about Ellsworth.
Even more importantly in 1984, the same Barry Kent cast the deciding vote on the request made by Ted Keir to preserve the hill...His exact words on the "decision sheet" for Spanish Hill's need for preservation for it's historical significance can be seen here (at the bottom of the page.)
"This is not the site of Brule's Carantouan and very little archaeological material has been found on the hill. It is a significant geological feature, but only by misinterpretation has it become a place of historical interest." BCK 10/10/8
And so you now know why the hill found itself in jeopardy and could have actually been highway fill if it had not been for Mr/ Ellsworth Cowles...
As I read Ellsworth's letter to Ted that day that was 15 pages long with a whole time line drawn out of when the Carantouans (Susquehannocks) would have left this region and why, as well as when the fur trade and guns to the Iroquois had occurred and so on...I smiled and knew that Ellsworth Cowles - whom I found out also that day was also voted as one of the top ten people to ever live in Corning, NY - knew what he was talking about.
Unfortunately, Ellsworth's life by that time had other priorities, and he never went to battle with Barry Kent on the story of Carantouan and Spanish Hill. That year his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and soon his eldest son would die as well...
While Ellsworth Cowles was as his granddaughter has told me recently "the type of man that when he walked in, he could fill the room," I know that he was not yet satisfied with all that he had hoped to accomplish in his life. I know of other research he was doing right up to the end of his life concerning Spanish Hill and Carantouan and that truly saddens me to think he died before having time to be able to do what he had set out to do...especially when he knew he could.
And so when Dick, Ellsworth's son handed me the piece of paper one Sunday at our SRAC board meeting, the realization of what my article in the Pennsylvania Archaeologist which challenges Kent's book "Susquehanna's Indian's" claims about Carantouan, Spanish Hill and yes - Mr. Ellsworth Cowles has meant, not just to me, but to everyone who has been involved with this issue for the past 100 years.
You see, the piece of paper Dick handed me was a copy of the front inside page of Ellsworth's bible...all tattered and torn with notes all over it and with just one quote above his name that I could now understand...
Note: This piece of paper now resides in my copy of "Susquehanna's Indians," between pages 300 & 301.
Thank you to the Cowles family for allowing me to be inspired by Ellsworth, a man I am sorry I never got a chance to meet.
in 1933 at the Spanish Hill site.
I have since written a book called
"Spanish Hill and Carantouan: The History, the People and the Politics"
and it is available here
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