Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cinco de Mayo - May 5th!

Cinco de Mayo -- that's Tuesday, May 5 -- once again provides an opportunity to eat well at Taco Bell, help all three Valley libraries and pick up a free book or two.

If you were planning to eat out on May 5, a stop at Taco Bell on Keystone Avenue will do all that as the local restaurant donates a percentage of the day's Taco Bell menu receipts to the Valley Library Association.

Representatives of the local libraries will do the rest with Cinco de Mayo decorations and the free books.

Your food purchase from the Taco Bell side of the menu helps to support the programs and collections of the Athens, Sayre and Waverly libraries!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"The Arc and BTC Sites" - Saturday, May 2nd

Waverly, NY - "The Arc and BTC Sites" will be presented by SRAC member Stan Vanderlaan on Saturday May 2, 2009 - 2pm – 4 pm at SRAC, 345 Broad St, Waverly,NY. Vanderlaan of Albion, NY presents two sites that he worked on over decades of his life. The Arc site which is a Paleo site (12 - 15,000 yrs old) represents a time when man still hunted the great beasts such as the woolly mammoth. Artifacts will be on display from this hugely important sites. The BTC (Buffalo Tournament) site is a much later site that was discovered when work began for a golf course in the town of Lancaster in Erie County, NY. In the end, this site was 4.5 acres, yet amazingly, no human remains were ever encountered.

Admission: Adults $3, Students and SRAC members $2.Doors open at 1pm and admission to the exhibit hall filled with thousands of local Native American artifacts is included in the admission price.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

EBAY and Archaeology Don't Mix.

Recently there was an article out in the Archaeological Institute of America that has me a little upset...

"Unexpected Finding on Ebay and The Antiquities Market from Archaeology Magazine: Our greatest fear was that the Internet would democratize antiquities trafficking and lead to widespread looting. This seemed a logical outcome of a system in which anyone could open up an eBay site and sell artifacts dug up by locals anywhere in the world. We feared that an unorganized but massive looting campaign was about to begin, with everything from potsherds to pieces of the Great Wall on the auction block for a few dollars. But a very curious thing has happened. It appears that electronic buying and selling has actually hurt the antiquities trade. How is it possible? The short answer is that many of the primary "producers" of the objects have shifted from looting sites to faking antiquities."

Archaeological Institute of America - THERE IS NO BRIGHT SIDE TO THIS.

My argument is that while MANY of the primary sellers may have switched to "faking antiquities" - still EBAY allows the rest to sell the authentic antiquities and still legitimizes the mentality that selling scientific evidence in online and offline auction houses is an acceptable practice.

Question - - if the Cahokia axe that was recently stolen was not seen as something that could be sold pretty easily on or offline - do you REALLY think it would have been stolen in the first place? Folks - I really believe that it is time to have ZERO TOLERANCE for any mechanism that allows the opportunity for even ONE piece of scientific evidence to be sold in this manner.

Many of you have read my recent postings that have made me feel this strongly about this topic - but if you have not - you can access some them here:

So by writing articles like the one I referred to in the beginning of this post, we are actually giving more life to a practice that should be given none. Be responsible when you write about this folks...and come on, professionals, avocationals, and collectors lets team together and stop this nonsense of supporting EBAY and auction house sales of scientific evidence. Send them and your congress people a note and tell them that the allowance of ANY sales of scientific evidence should be stopped immediately - furthermore, I believe that if any professional is involved in selling evidence they should lose thier license immediately.

I look forward to the feedback.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

“Mystery Rocks” by “UV-BOB” McGuire, May 5th

Bob McGuire

The next installment of SRAC's History's Mysteries will be “Mystery Rocks” by “UV-BOB” McGuire, President of the CheHanna Rock and Mineral Club, on Tuesday, May 5th from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. The presentation will take place at SRAC, located at 345 Broad St. Waverly, NY.

At the age of eight, in a schoolroom with three classes, Bob McGuire was presented with the opportunity to see a page with pictures of rocks and minerals in an old dictionary. As unbelievable as it would seem, this started his interest in them. At age ten, he started collecting (1953) and the second mineral given to him was one of nature's finest mysteries, a fluorescent one. The rest is history.

Bob McGuire is now the President of the CheHanna Rock and Mineral club and his fluorescent rocks and minerals show is actually viewed by many as magic. Amazingly, nature is the only magician he will need as he shows the audience these unusual creations of Mother Nature. Bob explains, "Some really unattractive rocks will transform into a rainbow of lovely colors simply by turning off the lights and exposing them to Ultra Violet illumination." The attendance will also view some of the uses of this phenomena in today's world.

The same shelf as above under UV light

McGuire will also share a slide show of the now closed zinc mines in Franklin New Jersey and show photos from one of the last digs that took place there.

Sure to be an exciting and educational experience for all ages! Admission- Adults $4, Students and SRAC members & Students $3.Doors open at 6pm and admission to the exhibit hall filled with thousands of local Native American artifacts is included in the admission price.

For more information, call 607-727-3111, or email or stop in the Center at 345 Broad St. Waverly, NY. SRAC's gift shop and exhibit hall are open from 1 - 5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 11-4pm Saturdays.

Monday, April 13, 2009

SRAC Membership Drive Contest!

SRAC Membership Drive Contest!

From today until our next annual membership meeting at our Drumbeats Through Time event being held October 10, 2009, we are having a membership drive contest where SRAC members can win huge prizes for referring new members to SRAC!

There will be top three winners in two categories:

1.) Most new members referred

2.) Most membership dollars made

How can YOU win?

1.) You need to be a member.

2.) In order for a referral to count for you in this contest, the new member must write in that they were referred by you on their membership form.

3.) Download a membership form here, put your name on them as the referrer and give or send them to your friends to join the contest today!

4.) We will keep track the new members and referrers in our database and announce the leaders at different intervals throughout the contest. The top three winners for both categories will win prizes and will be announced at the annual event in October!

Stay tuned for more information!

"Native Inspirations" - by Albert White

SRAC's Deb Twigg and artist Albert White

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is well known for housing thousands of local Native American artifacts. It also houses many pieces of artwork from well known artists in the region in their gift shop area.

The first of many artists to be highlighted at SRAC is well-known artist Albert White, who is a Mohawk Indian, and has been following the traditions of recordings and sharing the history of his people all of his life. Born in Binghamton he attended San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with honors from the Maryland Institute of Art. In 1975 he joined the American Indian Movement. Through this involvement he has seen and preserved, in paintings and memories, the struggles resulting in the resurgence of Indian pride and prominence.

As an artist his paintings reflect sensitivity and power in wildlife, people, and the land. His artwork has been shown in venues across the country and is in permanent collections of major institutions. He has served as an exhibitor, lecturer and a teacher in many prestigious locations including Harvard University and the Iroquois Indian Museum. Currently, White has ten of his original prints and drawings on exhibit and for sale at the SRAC gift shop.

On Saturday, April 18 from 2-3pm, SRAC will host a special showing of White’s artwork as he presents an hour long demonstration of Native American storytelling , dance, music and children’s games that have all been passed down through the centuries.

SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY and is open from 1-5 pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 11am to 4pm every Saturday. Admission for this event is $4 for adults, $3 for SRAC members and students with a special price of $1 for kids under twelve years of age. All attendees will also receive a free pass to the SRAC Exhibit Hall which will be honored before and after the event.

To download SRAC's latest event listing click here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Geology of the Twin Tiers" - April 14th, 2009

Introduction to Rocks and Minerals (Geology 101) - by Marty Borko
April 14, 2009 - 6:30 - 7:30pm at SRAC

Southern tier of New York and northern tier of PA is a unique geological region. What are the sediments that led to the bedrock, including the Marcellus Shale, in the Twin Tiers? Where did the sediment come from and how was the rock formed? How has our surface geology been transformed by glaciations? Answers to these questions will be answered in a slide supported program on April 14. Marty Borko is a retired Professor of Biology and Natural History having last served as Chair of the Biology Department at Orange County Community College; retiring after 35 years of service. All events are held at 345 Broad St, Waverly, NY. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for SRAC members and children under 18. Exhibit Hall admission is free to all attendees.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Field Schools and Volunteer Digging Opportunities in New York

The following is a list of Archaeological digs in New York State that are looking for volunteers ! Note: The listing does not constitute an NYSAA endorsement.

Western Hull House, Lancaster, Historic and McKendry Site, Irving, Prehistoric. Dates for both to be announced.Contact Doug Perrelli, SUNY/Buffalo Archaeological Survey,

Hiscock Site, Byron, Paleontological/Paleo. Most likely dates: July 18-Aug. 8. Contact Richard Laub, Buffalo Museum of Science,

Mills Mansion, Mount Morris, Historic. Saturdays and Sundays in July and August, 10–7 (modest fee). St. John Fisher College. Contact Justin Tubiolo,, (585) 671-7886.

Bittner Farm, Rochester, Historic. June 11-25, Mon. – Thurs. 9:30-12:30, Monroe Community College. Contact Ann Morton,, H: (315) 986-3086.

Billings Blacksmith Shop, Canandaigua, Historic. July 27-Aug. 11, Mon. – Thurs., 9:30-12:30, Finger Lakes Community College. Contact Ann Morton, H: (315) 986-3086.

Central White Site, Norwich, Prehistoric. Tuesdays, Chenango Chapter. Contact Don Windsor (607) 336-4628,

Miller Site, Cortland County, Prehistoric. SUNY Cortland. Contact Ellie McDowell-Loudan, SUNY Cortland,

SUNY/Binghamton’s Community Archaeology Program, Prehistoric. July 13-17 ($150). See

Northern Perch Lake Mounds, Watertown, Prehistoric. Tues., Wed., Thurs. every other week starting March 31, Thousand Islands Chapter. Contact Diane Coates (315) 222-3802,

Storrs Harbor, Sackets Harbor, Historic. Weekends starting late Spring, Thousand Islands Chapter. Contact Tim Abel (315) 486-0030,

British Fort, Fort Edward, Historic. July 6- Aug. 14, Adirondack Community College. Contact David Starbuck,

Eastern Schoharie Creek Site, Prehistoric. Saturdays from mid-May until late October, Iroquois Indian Museum. Contact Fred Stevens (518) 383-3107,

Long Island Joseph Lloyd Manor, Historic. June 24-July 31. Hofstra. Contact Jenna Coplin (516) 463-7625,

Blydenburgh Co. Park, Eastern Suffolk Co. BOCES. July 20-23, July 27-30, 8am-noon. Open to elementary and high school students. Adult volunteers accepted. Contact Gaynell Stone,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When Was Corn Domesticated?

Students Grinding Corn at an SRAC Event

Early man, the domestication of corn and the transition from "hunter/gatherer" to an agricultural society has been a hot topic in archaeology for a very long time.

Corn (maize) was domesticated from a wild grass that is found in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua called teosinte. This wild grass has been proven to be the origin of domesticated corn, but the period of when this domestication occurred has remained elusive.

By analyzing starch residue in ancient grinding tools and charred remains in cooking pots, researchers now claim that they have found evidence that corn was being domesticated as much as 8,700 years ago. Even more impressive is that they have located a rock shelter in Mexico's Central Balsas River Valley that actually yielded evidence of domesticated corn and squash.

But wait a minute....

ROCK SHELTER...AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY? These two terms are not commonly used together! The people that used rock shelters are commonly referred to as the PaleoIndian/Early Archaic and agriculture is not thought to have been part of their lifestyle.

How this relates to the PaleoIndian/Early Archaic people who lived in our region will also be an interesting thing to watch for. If anyone has any info on the use of starch analysis in the Northeast, please send it to me so that we can learn more about this!

Journal references:

  1. Anthony Ranere, Dolores Piperno et al. The Cultural and chronological context of early Holocene maize and squash domestication in the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico. PNAS, March 24, 2009
  2. Anthony Ranere, Dolores Piperno et al. Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium B.P. maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico. PNAS, March 24, 2009