Monday, September 28, 2009

COMING SOON! DrumBeats Through Time 2009

Every October is Archaeology Month in PA and since our earliest event 6 years ago, we have held true to our promise that we would host this event, jam packed full of artifacts, history, and Native American culture for FREE every year. Thanks to Guthrie Health, and many other individuals in the community who have donated towards our event this year, we are able to keep our word! Click the image below to download the Event Calendar!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"A Buck a Bag" of Books! at SRAC

Right now at SRAC you can get a bag of books for a buck as we close out our used book sale through the end of September. Also during this time ALL children's used books are FREE!

Lots of great titles in soft and hard covers are still available.

SRAC located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, and is open from 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturday from 11 - 4pm.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Woolly Mammoth at SRAC

Monday - September 20th Ted Keir will be doing a very special presentation about the Woolly Mammoth that was excavated at Spring Lake near Wyalusing, PA. In 1987, the Andaste Chapter assisted the Carnegie Museum in this excavation and recently has committed to funding the exact replicas of the 10 foot long tusk and jaw and teeth of this very same wolloy mammoth to be placed in the SRAC Exhibit Hall this winter.

Come see actual photos and hear from the people who took part in this excavation of remains that date back to 14,000 years ago, when the ice sheets of the ice age may still have been seen to our north and the average size of the woolly mammoths was 13 feet at the shoulders and 6 tons in weight. This is the joint meeting of the Andaste Chapter of PA Archaeology and SRAC and is also open to the public as well.

We will also discuss our design plans for the SRAC Woolly Mammoth Exhibit. Free admission is also included to the SRAC Exhibit Hall during this event.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DrumBeats Through Time - 2009

Every October is Archaeology Month in PA and since our earliest event 6 years ago, we have held true to our promise that we would host this event, jam packed full of artifacts, history, and Native American culture for FREE every year. Thanks to Guthrie Health, and many other individuals in the community who have donated towards our event this year, we are able to keep our word! Click the image below to download the Event Calendar!

Monday, September 14, 2009

SRAC Rummage Sale and HUGE Book Sale!

The SRAC Lecture Hall is being setup for the SRAC Fundraiser later this week.

There is still time to drop off books and rummage sale items for the upcoming SRAC rummage sale September 17,18, and 19 (this Thursday, Friday and Saturday!) and huge used book sale going on throughout September. Both sales are fundraisers for SRAC.

Stop in SRAC at 345 Broad Street Waverly from 1-5pm tues - fri , and Saturdays from 11-4 and support the preservation of our local archaeology.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

University of Cincinnati May Have Uncovered Link to Certain Mound Builders

The Serpent Mound, built on a hilltop near Locust Grove, Ohio is an amazing site to see...
all 1/4 mile of it. It was created by what scientists refer to as the "Fort Ancient" culture.

For years I have heard that the Iroquois are most likely the people whose ancestors were the ancient Hopewell and Fort Ancient people. Now the University of Cincinnati has found new evidence that it probably was not an Iroquoian but an Algonquin people that built at least one of the well known and continuously occupied hilltop Native American sites in North America.

Science Daily reports, "Ohio's Shawnee Lookout Park, with a major new mound being located and a rare kiln used to fire pottery excavated in recent weeks ... evidence was also found to bolster the theory that Shawnee Lookout was the largest continuously occupied hilltop settlement established by any Native American group. The dating of recent evidence found argues for cultural continuity at the site, meaning the Hopewell who lived at Shawnee Lookout up to 2,000 years ago are showing direct links to the Shawnee people who were living on the site less than 300 years ago...It had already been established that the Hopewell and Fort Ancient were at the site in ancient times – and historically they were the society given credit for constructing the earthworks at Shawnee Lookout. It was also obviously known that the Shawnee and others were at the site more recently."

Me standing in one of the ditches at Fort Ancient, not unlike what was found at Spanish Hill by the earliest Europeans to our region.

Click here to watch several personal videos of Hopewell and Fort Ancient mounds built by the these cultures that are seemingly being connected with the later Shawnee/Algonquin cultures. Since the mounds continued through NY and the northern edge of Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see how this story AND OUR PREHISTORY unravels in the future.

Stay Tuned!

References: University of Cincinnati (2009, September 4). Shawnee Lookout May Be Largest Continuously Occupied Hilltop Native American Site In United States. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/09/090903110816.htm

Monday, September 7, 2009

SRAC September Fundraisers

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is gearing up for a rummage sale / fund raiser September 17, 18, and 19th. This event will occur in tandem with the current "Big Book Sale" taking place at the Center throughout the month of September. Anyone wishing to donate books or other items (excluding clothes) for either event to support SRAC are asked to drop off items during normal business hours. SRAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit located at 345 Broad St., Waverly, NY. Their business hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 1-5pm, and Saturdays from 11am - 4pm. For more information, please email, or call the Center at 607-565-7960.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Englebert Site - By April Beisaw 2007

This is a followup from my first post about the Englebert site. (make sure to read the comments !)

The following video of April Beinsaw, PhD who did her dissertation at SUNY Binghamton concerning the Englebert Site available from SRAC's Online Videos. Her presentation, "The Englebert Site - Susquehannock or Iroquois" was given in May 2007 at the Joint SRAC /Andaste Chapter of Pennsylvania Archaeology meeting in Burlington, PA:

Click the image below to watch the video now.

Please post your comments by clicking the comments link at the bottom of this posting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SRAC Book Sale!

Children get their first book free and each book after that for 10 cents!

Seniors get 50% off the Adult pricing!

SRAC is having an ongoing used book sale - and are asking for donations of hard and soft cover books. We are taking drop offs at SRAC between 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays from 11-4pm. The book sale will continue throughout September and include a rummage sale September 17-19.

Please consider dropping off some books or rummage sale items (excluding clothes) to help us with this fundraiser - Winter is coming- - and so are those heating bills!

Please spread the word for us! download a flier here to share!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bears On Broad Street Gallery

Thank you to everyone who made the Bears on Broad Street a HUGE success!

Click HERE to go to the Picture Gallery!
(Photos from the event are on sale in the SRAC Gift Shop!)

The Englebert Site

This past weekend I was sent news articles that reported that all of the remains and artifacts from the Englebert site will be given to the Onondaga Nation as the result of a NAGPRA agreement that was made some years ago.

There are so many issues in my opinion concerning this that at first I did not even know where to begin with it. As a result, I decided to begin with just a small spattering of some direct quotes from our earliest known historical records about the Andastes and their relationship with the Iroquois Nation and specifically the Onondaga Nation. The following are actual accounts from Jesuit missionary priests who lived among the Iroquois in the 17th century. I am giving you the volume and basic year so that you the reader can read as much as you like from these accounts. ALL can be accessed from

PREFACE TO Jesuit Relations VOL. XLV (1659)
“Lalemant (Jesuit priest) sketches the history, character, and political condition of the Iroquois tribes. They had been, in the past, defeated and crushed by both the Algonkins and the Andastes; but, of late, have in turn almost annihilated those tribes.

MISSION OF ONNONTAGUÉ.(Onondaga) Jesuit Relations VOL. LIX. (1675)
FATHER Jean de Lamberville is at Onnontague; this is the village of the third nation, where Garakontié continues to give evidence of his firmness in the faith, and of his friendship for the French.

The Father has acquired great influence by his skill in using various remedies. This gives him entrance to all the cabins and access to all the sick, so that few escape who are not baptized before they die. In addition to his occupation in Onnontagué, he is compelled from time to time to make excursions in the vicinity. On the last one that he made, ten leagues from the village, he fortunately arrived in time to baptize a dying man, who expired shortly afterward. Then, after crossing a river, he found several sick Christians, whom he confessed; he then bled them, and it came to pass that, by means of the spiritual and temporal remedies, God restored them to health. He also baptized, at the same place, a man and a woman who were very well disposed. At the same time, he had to endeavor to prepare for that [Page 243] sacrament a woman who had a great aversion to the French and to the Faith. He succeeded so well that she was worthy of receiving baptism before she died. He had barely finished when he was obliged Promptly to recross the river, to bleed a sick juggler; but, as he did not deem him worthy of baptism, the Father set out at once to go two leagues from there, and administer it to a woman and a child, who at the same time were restored to health through the medicines which he gave them.Thus a missionary must be all things to all men, allowing no opportunity to escape him for winning souls to Jesus Christ, This is what the Father does both in and out of Onnontague. Consequently he has this year increased his church by seventy-two Christians, forty of whom died after baptism, as well as many adults; among these were some captives from Andastogué whom he baptized amid the fires in which they died.


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

“The 30th. They begin to burn her over a slow fire, and prolong her torture for the space of two days and two nights, — because he for whom she was given was burned at Andastogué for that length of time.

To me, it does not seem from these narratives that the Andastes were friends with the Iroquois nation or the Onondaga. As a result, I wonder how the association and ancestral connection (making the Onondaga the Susquehannock
modern descendants) was decided upon between the two in order for the transference of remains to occur. Again – I am not afraid to claim ignorance and this is just my opinion - so I hope that someone can send me this information to help me understand all of this a little better.

The Site

I have had great interest in the Englebert site ever since I started studying Carantoun – about which I published an article in the PA Archaeologist in 2005. Carantouan was the nation of Andastes that Etienne Brule visited in 1615 in order to bring 500 of their warriors to help Samuel Champlain and the Hurons in a battle against the Onondagas. You can read all about this at if you are not familiar with this story…Note the map shown here.

In recounting this story, Champlain made a map in 1632 of his travels and he illustrates Brule’s path to Carantouan and also shows where the villages and the ceremonial space (Spanish H
ill) was located. As you can see there were just as Champlain explained three villages. And the northern most has a flag even. Well folks…I believe this is exactly where the Englebert site was found 350 years later.

The Englebert site located on a 20-acere gravel knoll was excavated as a salvage operation that uncovered 140 burials while a highway was being constructed near Nichols, NY. In the end, the site was the largest Andaste cemetery that I know of ever being found. During the excavation, the Tri Cities Chapter of NY Archaeology and many volunteers led by Dolores Eliot feverishly dug and recorded burial after burial as the bulldozers worked right behind them. Dan Caister, president of the Tri-Cities Chapter actually did a presentation about this for us that I videotaped.I believe the Englebert family also were present and talked after the presentation on this tape too. Dan also did an article in our newsletter in 2007 about the site which began with,

“The most important fact about the Engelbert site near Nichols, NY, is that it was repeatedly used as a cemetery by the ancestors of the Iroquois for 600 years from 950 A.D. to 1550 A.D…

The second most important fact about this key site is that it’s gone...”

Today, Dan couldn’t have said it any better. But over the summers of 1967-68, when the excavation occurred, the remains and the grave goods from 140 burials of the Late Woodland residents of the Susquehanna Valley were all boxed up and eventually made their way to SUNY Binghamton. In his report, Dan stated, “Based on the artifacts interred in the graves, most of the burials dated to the Late Owasco, Protohistoric and Early Contact periods. These estimates are based on pottery styles, pottery technology, and copper artifacts in a few burials which suggest the presence of European trade goods. Other features—hearths or storage pits—contained artifacts from the Late Archaic period around 4000 years ago.” Lastly he raised the question that perked my interests when he said, “Another question which may never be answered is whether this was an occupation site—a village or hamlet—at some times and a cemetery at other times. The site was certainly occupied at least intermittently during the Late Archaic period. The amount of pottery and stone tools in non-burial contexts, the presence of deep storage pits, and a line of possible postmolds suggest that the hilltop may also have been occupied during at least part of the Late Woodland period.”

Since Brule WAS the early European contact for Carantouan which I believe the Englebert site WAS a part of - and the copper goods that were found at the site occur generally in sites dated from 1600-1625 – AND there was possible evidence of post molds and thus living spaces - Again, I hope that you can understand my interests relative to Brule’s trip to Carantouan which occurred in 1615.

Unfortunately – I am not an archaeologist or anthropologist and have been hoping to someday get the professionals here to research the evidence found in the region of Carantouan to include the Englebert site. It is my hope that this could answer the questions surrounding Carantouan, Spanish Hill and the three village sites on Champlain's map once and for all.

...And then I received the email that said that soon, most of this evidence from the Englebert site will be gone!

And when I went back to read Dan Caister's article - he actually even told us in 2007, " The Native American remains have been or will be repatriated to the Iroquois nations under the terms of the Native American Graves and Patrimony Repatriation Act. The burial goods interred with the prehistoric human remains will also be returned to their modern descendants. But soil samples, artifacts recovered outside of the burials, animal remains and botanical remains are still available for study and reveal `some fascinating information about the prehistory of this area. "

I know what you are thinking at this point…

I know that you are thinking that I am upset that the remains are being re-interred, right?

Well let’s think about this a little bit…

The site was excavated 41 years ago. So my question is what research was done on it for the nearly half a century that it was in those boxes? The only extensive reports that I know of are as follows:

Most Recent: SUNY Binghamton, April Beinsaw, PhD – her dissertation was on the Englebert Site and SRAC had her present her research. Watch it here.

I found three articles in the NYSAA Bulletin that were written over the years as well:


Bulletin Volume 61: July 1974 - Copper Artifacts From The Engelbert Site 1 - Helene R. Dunbar and Katharine C. Ruhl

Bulletin Volume 80 and 81: Fall 1981 – Spring 1981: Historic Ceramics from the Engelbert Site: An Evaluation of Artifacts from a Salvage 19 Operation - Charles Semowich

Lastly there is small booklet that showed photos of many of the burials that was created that is quite hard to find these days. SUNY Binghamton might have some left they would send out and SRAC does have one however that can be used in house and for research purposes & by request only.

And that folks is the grand sum total of all that I have been able to acquire on info about the Englebert Site and any research done on the materials found there over the last 40 years.

Some would say that is enough.

I would say that it is just the tip of the iceberg of what should have been done and feel that SRAC whose mission is to promote more archaeological research in the area should have been more of a catalyst concerning this issue.

But no matter what ANYONE says, it is all that there will ever be done using the skeletal remains and artifacts found in the burials there.

I hope that those mighty Susquehannocks who gave us 41 years to learn what we could from their remains can rest in peace soon - - even though they know (as we all do) that we did not.

Shame on US.

I also hope that all of the readers that have comments on this are responsible enough to post it to the bottom of this blog by clicking the comments link found there. In this way ALL of this info will remain linked to this topic for anyone wanting to know about this site and its fate for years to come. Feedback is as always welcome as well.

Please note that the opinions stated here are ALL MINE, and are not meant to represent those of SRAC or any other party.