Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SRAC Exhibit Hall

We have over 20 cases FULL OF ARTIFACTS!

On October 25th, 2008, SRAC officially opened its Exhibit Hall at our Center located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY. The Exhibit Hall is jam-packed with thousands of locally found artifacts, most identified by the site they were found at. It is the largest display of locally found Native Indian Artifacts in the region!

How to View the Exhibits:
Exhibits are available to be viewed from 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays from 11-3pm. Admission fees are $3 for adults, $1 for seniors and students. SRAC members can view our exhibits during regular hours for free.

Would your group like to schedule a special visit to our Center?
We are happy to facilitate bus trips or educational tours. Presentations about our local history can also be added to the scheduled visit with advance notice and an additional donation of $1 per person attending if your group is not a school. Please contact us to learn more!

Teachers - Would you like to schedule a class trip to our Center?
We are happy to facilitate your class trip to our Center for free throughout the school year! All we ask is that you work with us to schedule this in advance. Please contact us to learn more!

SRAC/Safford Collection

Locally Found Artifacts

Highlights of Our Exhibits Include:

Pottery - a huge collection of different styles of pottery found in our region. If you want to understand the cultures that were in our area and when, the pottery is said to be one of the easiest pieces of evidence to use. We have several pots and hundreds of shards listed by site.

Lithic Library - one of two lithic libraries that we know of with over 100 types of materials that have been used to make our locally found stone artifacts and where that material was quarried. We also have several caches of trade material that was brought in from other regions of the country.

Spanish Hill - one whole case filled with actual artifacts found at this incredible site.

Basic Artifacts of Prehistoric life - In this display we exhibit the basic artifacts used by the people who lived here before the Europeans set foot on the continent. This will give you an insight into the way of life that existed here hundreds to thousands of years ago.

Artifacts by Site - thousands of artifacts are presented by the most well known sites in our region!

Artifacts by Collectors - SRAC is dedicated to acknowledging the collectors that donate their collections to us. Several cases are displayed with the collectors name and picture with it. If you would like more information about how to donate your collection to be shared at SRAC, please click here.

The Best of the Best - We have loaded one huge case with incredible unique pieces that would make any museum proud to own. From ornate bannerstones, pipes, and other items we have no official name for, this display will be sure to make you realize that the people that once lived here surely had better technologies and artistic talents than many thought possible!

Private Collections - We will also exhibit private collections of local artifacts that are rarely seen in public! If you are a private collector and would like to display parts of your collection at SRAC - please contact us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October 25th - SRAC's 5th Annual "DrumBeats Through Time"

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies (SRAC) will be hosting their 5th annual "DrumBeats Through Time" event at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY from 1-6pm on Saturday, October 25th.

The last 4 years, SRAC held their annual event in the Patterson Auditorium on the Guthrie campus in Sayre. Since acquiring their own building in downtown Waverly, SRAC will host the annual event in their own building for the first time. The building, known by locals as the "old Phillie Sales building" or more recently the "Dollar Bazaar" was purchased by SRAC in December 2007. Since then, an outpouring of community support and volunteer work had transformed this once dingy building with walls that were literally crumbling into a the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center complete with a gift shop, lecture hall to date. However, during the event on the 25th, SRAC will have a grand opening of their museum space. One tradition of the event is that along with the thousands of Native American artifacts owned by SRAC there will be many seldom seen private collections owned by SRAC members and friends as well.

This event is our way to celebrate our local prehistory with collectors and the community, and we have never charged an admission fee. We hope that the community takes this opportunity to learn more about SRAC and the unique history of our region. It will be an event that has something for children as well as adults, and will include a few surprises throughout the day.

Event Schedule:

1pm - doors open to view the artifacts and exhibits and gift shop and remain open throughout the event!

1:30pm - 2:30PM “Flowers for the Dead: New Research into the World of the Hopewell Moundbuilder Culture.”
by Dr. DeeAnne Wymer, Bloomsburg University Using traces of organic and other unusual materials preserved in association with ceremonial copper burial objects, Dr. Wymer will give the audience an intimate view of the ceremonies of the ancient Hopewell Moundbuilder culture. Simply a breathtaking presentation!

3 – 4PM “Buffalo Creek“ Native Indian Dancers!
The Village of Waverly will close the street in front of SRAC for this very special opportunity for the community to learn and enjoy the music and dance from these authentic Seneca Native Indian dancers!

4:30 PM – 5:30 SRAC MURAL Unveiling

6pm - doors close

SRAC's DrumBeats Through Time is free to the public to attend.

To learn more about the DrumBeats Through Time event or SRAC, please visit, or call (607)565-7960. SRAC is open from 1-5 pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 11-3pm Saturdays.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More on the Grid Stone Found at Spanish Hill

Every month SRAC presents "History's Mysteries" and we discuss a part of our history that leaves us scratching our heads. This month's is held this coming Tuesday (October 7th) at 6:30 pm- 7:30 pm and it is on Climate Changes Throughout History - by Greg Burrows.

Last month's topic was about our grid stone that was found on the flats below Spanish Hill in South Waverly, PA.

As fate would have it, I was in an accident the morning I was supposed to give the presentation, but the show did go on as Susan Fogel studied my research that day and gave the presentation for me that night. I really had done alot of work on it and believe it has some significant information that I have mot shared online before. For this reason, I have decided to share the bulk of what I put in this presentation for those of you that are showing interest and live several states away....

For those of you that have not read the basic background on this gridstone, please visit:

1.) Is it a geofact or an artifact?
This is a question that should be asked anytime that you pick a wierd looking stone...We at SRAC have people every week asking us to look at a stone that looks like it is something to the person that found it - and many times it is just a funny looking rock that was made by nature...

Honestly there were a couple of people who said that they absolutely think that this stone's markings were naturally made.

On the other hand, I have had many more say that they absolutely believe that the markings are man-made.

My opinion is that that I believe that it is man-made...and I think after I show you more that I have discovered, you will too.

2.) Is it a turtle effigy?

As many of you know the turtle plays an important role in many of the creation stories and belief systems in Native American cultures.

To tell you the truth the size and shape of the stone makes it feel like a turtle when you grab it with two hands and pick it first glance, this seems quite possible.

3.) Is the grid stone a ceremonial tablet?

While you may look at this stone and think that it looks alot like our grid stone, you need to know one thing. That is, the largest "tablets" that I know of seem to be around 4 to 5 inches in diameter, and could be easily carried. Our stone is 0ver ten inches at it's widest point, and at least two inches thick. It is also pretty heavy...taking two hands to carry for the average person, and certainly nothing that you want to carry very far...(which is why I didn't take it to WIsconsin to the Man Mound ceremony last August.)

The thing that makes you think that this may just have something to it is that it was found at Spanish Hill, which has 230 foothigh steep sides and had ten acres enclosed with an interior ditch on it's flat top. The interior ditch - I am told absolutely means it was a ceremonial enclosure up there...

So because I am no specialist on tablets, my question is- Are there any tablets as large as ours? I have not seen any yet. This makes me skeptical even though I know that many artifacts and skeletons found in our region were said to be alot larger than average.

Louise Welles Murray -"History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens -"1908.

"Little attention has ever been paid by students of ethnology to the valley of the Upper Susquehanna...we have resolved here to present in a separate chapter the results of the work of amateur investigators...trusting that more learned students may help us decide to what race belong the almost gigantic skeletons often found..."

The other thing about the other tablets is their lines are cut very straight as if they are cut by using a long knife or device that was the length of the stone making the lines perfect...However our grid stone has lines that are not so straight when you look closely at them. Also - the lines have a coloration in them, and we have not been able to say what made this coloration but it is a charcoal color....Whether or not this makes any difference, I have no idea!

4.) Is the grid stone relative to other rock art found at and around Spanish Hill?

This amulet is about 2 inches long

These were found on a stone much the same as our gridstone.

side 1

side 2

This bird stone was found about less than a mile north of Spanish Hill

This pottery was uncovered less than three miles south of the hill

Is the artwork "phosphenes?"

Phosphene - n. A sensation of light caused by excitation of the retina by mechanical, electrical or other means rather than by light, like when you press your eyeballs through closed lids. They are also commonly seen by those under the power of hallucinatory drugs or trances.

Retired linguistic professor at Northern Arizona University and author Dr. Ekkehart Malotki and I have emailed and discussed this stone. He is convinced these designs are phosphenes, which are as fundamental to art as time is to language. He said that 15 abstract geometric constants appear globally in art created throughout time. They are grids, zigzags and patterns of dots. They are the first objects drawn by children; we doodle them when we talk on the phone.

The only problem that I have with this is that they are usually drawn in a bigger format - - covering an area of a cave wall or large rock. I have not seen any that were portable like this stone of ours, and would be interested if anyone can send me images of these phosphenes on os rock like ours...

Lastly are the lines on the grid stone actually "lines"

For some reason I decided that I would try to see if there was anything that stood out by placing a piece of paper on it and using a pencil and simply going over it completely. The result was not very impressive but when I looked at the reverse side of the paper, I saw that the lines made a raised design that intrigued me. This caused me to used use clay and press it into the top of the stone.

The results of this experiment I think are impressive. Look closely at the picture of the reverse mold below:

Now look at the stone closer...

Are you seeing what I am seeing?

Whether or not you agree that these lines on the grid stone are actually snakes, you cannot deny that these lines have varying widths and a snake-like in design as opposed to lines "cut" straight into the stone. Each line is its own layer as well, showing clearly which was made before the other and on the reverse mold looking like snakes being layed one across another.

especially strange line variance

closeup of the lines with snake-like design on reverse mold

After seeing the reverse mold I end up with more questions than answers.

I think it important to note that the snake-like design is alot more obvious on the reverse mold than the stone itself, as I have seen this stone and handled it for years, but never saw the snake-like design until I made the mold. This makes me think that the stone could have been made as a mold or stamp of some sort.

I look forward to hearing from others about this strange stone and design found on it and seeing if anyone has found anything like this before, and I hope that readers will find this an informative article that allows you to see all that I can possibly give you to help try to figure out what it might be.