Monday, December 31, 2007

SRAC Workshop - Saturday January 5th!

First - Thanks to Inga Welles, Tom Valilee, Duane Welles, and Susan Fogel for joining me in moving the last donated items from the Albro House today! We were able to get the job done in no time and managed to have a few laughs together as usual - (right DUANE?)

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

Another Local Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story does not end there though....

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- so I ask YOU - - - -

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

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Conservation and The Adena Mound Builder Culture

A few years ago, Ted Keir and I met with a representative of the Archaeological Conservancy. The Archaeological Conservancy was established in 1980, and is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation's remaining archaeological sites. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Conservancy also operates regional offices in Mississippi, Maryland, Ohio, and California. We met with them about trying to preserve the Queen Esther's Town and Flats area and to stop the "pay for digging" of this incredibly significant site that reportedly was and still is going on there under a business name of "Camp Dig It."
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.

Picture from my trip to the Miamisburg (Adena) Mound, Ohio

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

Ted Keir Presents at Lockheed Martin, Owego, NY

Ted and I visited Lockheed Martin earlier this month and I wanted to share the video of all that Ted shared that day. Not only did he share information about many incredible artifacts that he personally found in the region, but he also shared his incredible knowledge of our local prehistory and archaeology.

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:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SRAC Receives an Early Christmas Present!

SRAC is proud to announce that the Robert K. Fox Collection has been added to the SRAC collection.

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

The Mound Builder Myth

Many of you know about my personal interest in Spanish Hill and my studies in the mound builder cultures that preceded the Iroquois and other historic cultures we mostly hear about today. I believe this story is a great illustration of how much we have learned over the past century, as well as how much theories can change over time and with more and more great minds working through the issues...Remember that the name of this article is "The Mound Builder MYTH..." it is called this after a real myth that was alive and well up until just a few decades ago...

The following is an excerpt from the book "History of Waverly, New York" (Albertson:1943) and it shows just how much we did not understand about the people who lived here just a few hundred years before us...

I find it really strange that our continent just like South America had such great civilizations and structures like those of the Mayans and the Incas and so on, yet we for hundreds of years claimed they were created by someone other than the Native Indians that they found here...And just like the South Americans, there were many groups who practiced making mounds and mound structures and they were not all the same people that could ever be characterized as one group called the "Mound Builders."

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
  • Vikings

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:

If you prefer to just watch videos - - you can pick them out from my 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 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

Saturday Workshop Cancelled!

We have had alot of work done all week and due to the weather and all of the other things that are going on in the building right now - we have canceled the workshop for tomorrow....

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

Chocolate Arrowheads Are Back For Christmas!

A couple of years ago, local Chocolatier Hal Lambert went to SRAC's Board Chairman, Ted Keir to ask for a few of his locally found points to use as molds for his fine chocolates. Lamberts Chocaltes are well known in our region, and are currently being shipped around the world for the holidays!

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

Christmas Shopping at SRAC!

Many of you have asked what you can do to help support SRAC, but have not yet seen the extensive list if items SRAC has on sale that would be great ideas for Christmas gifts!

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!

Like -

The Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania (Huge Paperback)

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!

We also have -

Spanish Hill and Carantouan:The History, the People and the Politics - by Deb Twigg

"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 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


- $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

Or -

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!

And -

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.

221pp paperback. $20.00 - buy it now!

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!

Thank you in advance for supporting SRAC!

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Workshop a Huge Success!

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

A Boy Scout's Mom Tasked With Creating a Learning Activity...

"To the SRAC Team -

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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Saturday Workshops In Waverly

For those who have not heard yet. -we have a new home now at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY!

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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More on Red and Yellow Ocher (Ochre)

Recently I had posted a request for people to submit their thoughts on the existence of red and yellow ocher in burials in our area.

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.

"Hematite is a mineral in the hematite group. They are trigonal, metallic oxides,and are composed of one or more metals and oxygen, and resemble each other structurally. Corundum (Aluminum oxide), Eskolaite (Chromium oxide) and Karelianite (Vanadium oxide) are also in the Hematite group. Hematite is the primary ore of iron.

Hematite occurs in many different habits, including numerous crystal forms, massive, and earthy, which is called ocher.

Ocher (ochre) occurs in 4 major forms. Yellow ocher is hydrated iron oxide. When yellow ocher is heated, driving off the water, it turns red. Both occur naturally, but the red ocher found with other artifacts, could have been "made" by the people who used it. Red ocher can also be purple, due to particle size. There is also brown ochre, which is partially hydrated iron oxide and is more commonly known as common rust. There are other colors, such as grey or orange, etc., all with their own names, and resulting from different amounts of water.

There would have been little native hematite in the valley area, except for glacial deposits, trade pieces, or very small amounts obtained from "rusted" pyrite (iron sulfide) that occurs sporadically in some sedimentary rocks, as in the pyritized fossils found in western NY."

- Don M.(SRAC member)

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Giving Back

When I first started researching Spanish Hill a few years ago, the first thing that really struck me was that we do not discuss our local prehistory in our region. Not only that - but the information was VERY hard to even find!

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!

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Week in the Life of SRAC!

I want to apologize for not getting more info out this week - but it has been a little busy. As I sat down to write this morning, I thought it might be neat to give all of you a look into the past week in the life of SRAC!

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 website last weekend and you can even join online now!

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