Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SRAC Children's Christmas Drawing Contest Winners Annunced!

And the winners are:

Patrick Shay:


and Emilie Little

Congrats to all three kids ! They all won $10 gift certificates to the SRAC gift shop!

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Birch Bark Canoe Display at SRAC

Barb Koehn, and SRAC's Don Hunt & Tom Vallilee stand below the suspended canoe
 (WAVERLY, NY) Visitors to the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center(SRAC)  in Waverly, NY now will be able to enjoy an up close view of an over 100 year old Native American birch bark canoe. Birch bark canoes were being used by the people who inhabited the Great Lakes region since around 1500AD. Just as they were made centuries ago, the canoe at SRAC was created solely with hand carved split spruce, sheets of birch bark, spruce root strapping and sealed with a mix of spruce gum and charcoal. Surprisingly, the canoe is over 13 feet long but only weighs only about 70lbs. This made it the perfect way for the Native Americans to travel where they had to cross from portage to portage, meaning that the canoe would be carried over land to different streams that lead to their destination. As a result, the birch bark canoe was superior to the dugout canoe and any boat that the early Europeans brought to America for travelling on our streams, rivers and lakes.

SRAC’s Deb Twigg explained, “The canoe was donated in 2008 by Waverly native Les Rolfe and until now was not able to be safely displayed.  Recently, we had brought the canoe down for a local school field trip, and we decided that moving it around for special occasions was just not a good idea anymore.  At that point we contracted with Barbara Koehn who is known well for her work at the Don Merrill Museum, to help us figure out how to suspend the canoe safely. The result is a glimpse into our past that will stay with people long after their visit.”

SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY and is open from 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-5pm. To learn more, visit www.SRACenter.org.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reward Offered for Information on Stolen Petroglyphs

A damaged Paiute Indian petroglyph located at a major rock art site on the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop, California is shown in this handout image released to Reuters November 20, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Reward Offered for Information on Stolen Petroglyphs
Archeologists offered a US$1,000 (S$1,225) reward on Tuesday for information leading to the arrest of vandals who stole four priceless ancient rock carvings, and damaged others in the California desert. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) called the carvings – sliced out of the rock face with cement-cutting circular saws – an “irreplaceable part of our national cultural heritage.”  http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/reward-offered-stolen-california-rock-carvings-20121121  

Learn more about Rock Art from the Archaeology Channel
One of the greatest places to see rock art is Nevada, which has lots of rock faces, a dry climate that preserves it, and limited vegetation to cover it up.  The Nevada Rock Art Foundation is busy recording what's there and finding ways to preserve it. Lots of archaeology goes on in Illinois all the time, outside the attention of most people. In this segment, the Illinois Archaeological Survey describes how they do that work.  Visit some excavation sites and drop in on the lab where the archaeologists organize, catalog and interpret what they find. You can see these stories in the November 2012 edition of this monthly half-hour show, available now on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site,  The Archaeology Channel ( http://www.archaeologychannel.org) as well as on cable TV in cities across the US.

Making Memories at SRAC

Ted Keir talked about the woolly mammoths in our region!
On days like today I am reminded of my fourth grade field trip to Spanish Hill. As you can imagine, that experience ended up being something that I talk about every week at SRAC. But I also have asked many visitors to SRAC if they remember where they went for their fourth grade field trip -(4th grade is the curriculum that covers our Native American history) and there has never been a person who couldn't tell me. To me, this gives us at SRAC a huge responsibility as we now provide the fourth grade field trips for more and more schools in the area.

Today we hosted Waverly School District's whole fourth grade - and it was the best one yet!

A total of five classes came to SRAC either in the morning or afternoon shift, and were split up into four groups who rotated through 4 stations.

Station 1 was hosted by SRAC's Ted Keir who talked about the Ice Age and what our region was like 12 - 15,000 years ago.

Station 2 was hosted by SRAC's Dick Cowles who discussed the arrival of the white man to our region.

By the way, Ted Keir and Dick Cowles are both 88 years old!

Station 3 was the Museum  of the Earth MAIZE: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain, hosted by SRAC's Janet Andrus.

Teacher Robin Blauvelt looks on as SRAC's Janet Andrus discusses the many mysteries of maize.
Station was the ever popular SRAC gift shop where many of the kids were able to buy something for as little as 25 cents and also could draw a Christmas scene to enter or Christmas drawing contest and be automatically entered into our contest where they could win great prizes!

SRAC's Dock Cowles holds up one of the many hands  on learning tools at his station!

In the meantime, back at the grade school, we had our own Jack Andrus who was fully dressed in Native American dress who visited the 3rd and 4th grade classes and shared many Native American children's stories.

Most importantly, we did ALL of this free of charge.

Some people ask why we as a small fledgling nonprofit organization wouldn't charge the schools. And to that I can only ask if people realize that the whole Waverly fourth grade actually had to WALK to SRAC today for their field trip for lack of funding for buses. The point is that we are a COMMUNITY, and we take care of one another. The teachers teach and try to give their kids the best learning experiences they can - to include a field trip to SRAC. And we at SRAC give what we can to those teachers and kids. We are all volunteers at SRAC, and we LOVE doing our part. That's how it works.

During this holiday season, I hope that you consider what it is that you can do for your community too. Together we are all better for it.

SRAC is a 501c3, are staffed 100% by volunteers, we do not take state or federal funding and rely on our memberships, admission donations, sales in our gift shop and generous donations from our community to support all that we do.

I hope that you will stop in SRAC sometime soon, consider supporting us and see what a community can create.

Please consider sharing this post and our message.

Monday, November 19, 2012

SRAC Needs Your Support

The truth is that not all nonprofits like SRAC will make it in these tough economic times, and it is usually long after the fact when a community realizes what they lost. 

Your donation to SRAC will keep our prehistoric past alive for generations to come!

The SRAC Annual Giving Fund supports day-to-day operations of our Center located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY. Contributions to this fund are vitally important to help the Center cover its general operating expenses each year. The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) is a 501c3, (nonprofit organization) and all of our funding comes from our membership, the revenues that we can generate at the Center, and donations from philanthropic organizations and generous individuals like you. In these hard economic times we need your support more than ever.

There are three options to donate $$ to the SRAC Giving Campaign:

2.) Want to Donate Online?  Click here

3.) Donate $100 or more and get FREE BOOK/POSTER! With a donation of $100 or more – You can get a  your choice of free limited edition hard cover book from Wennawoods Publishing while supplies last. Click here to learn more!

SRAC – A Unique Experience; an Exceptional Organization.
•    100% volunteer staffing
•    over 50 community events a year
•    open five days a week, year round
•    FREE field trips for all local schools
•    over 300 members
•    thousands of artifacts

Other Ways to Support SRAC:
Gifts to the SRAC Annual Giving Fund are welcomed in any amount and are tax deductible. Donors who give to the fund are recognized in the SRAC Journal – SRAC’s periodic publication.

Matching Gifts:
Many companies offer Matching Gift programs for charitable contributions made by their employees, which could double your gift to the Center.  Please contact your employer’s Human Resources Department for information.

Tax Benefits for Donating Items:
Private Collections: SRAC will accept private collections (artifacts, books, etc) or will work with collectors for a future donation of an artifact collection and will preserve and use them to benefit the community in the education of our local history for many generations to come.

Items for Resale: Certain items donated to SRAC can be resold for a donation.  From items that we can resell in our gift shop to eBay, SRAC would be happy to talk to you about items that you may want to donate to SRAC for resale.  Once items are sold, we will be happy to provide documentation of the resale value tax purposes.  Please talk to your accountant for additional information concerning the tax deductions available for the items that you want to donate.

If you would like to contribute to the SRAC Annual Giving Campaign but need more answers, please contact Deb Twigg, Executive Director and Co-Founder of SRAC at 607-727-3111

Thanks for the Visit - Pack 4018!

Ted Keir shares hos knowledge and artifacts with Pack 4018!
We want to thank Amaryah Denlinger with Pack 4018 and the other pack leaders and parents who brought their kids to SRAC for a tour recently!  Ted Keir spent the afternoon sharing his knowledge and his artifacts with everyone  - and each child even received a real net sinker donated by Ted during their visit!

It really is special knowing that we can make these special childhood memories for our kids. In the end we figured there to be around 40 kids and 20 adults who attended the tour! Thanks again to all that made it happen!

Next week we have the whole Waverly Fourth Grade coming in for their annual tour!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Archaeologists identify spear tips used in hunting a half-million years ago

TORONTO, ON – A University of Toronto-led team of anthropologists has found evidence that human ancestors used stone-tipped weapons for hunting 500,000 years ago – 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.
"This changes the way we think about early human adaptations and capacities before the origin of our own species," says Jayne Wilkins, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and lead author of a new study in Science. "Although both Neandertals and humans used stone-tipped spears, this is the first evidence that the technology originated prior to or near the divergence of these two species," says Wilkins.
Attaching stone points to spears – known as 'hafting' – was an important advance in hunting weaponry for early humans. Hafted tools require more effort and foreplanning to manufacture, but a sharp stone point on the end of a spear can increase its killing power.

Hafted spear tips are common in Stone Age archaeological sites after 300,000 years ago. This new study shows that they were also used in the early Middle Pleistocene, a period associated with Homo heidelbergensis and the last common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans.

"It now looks like some of the traits that we associate with modern humans and our nearest relatives can be traced further back in our lineage", Wilkins says.

IMAGE: These are examples of experimental hafted points from a University of Toronto-led study. Points were hafted to wooden dowels using Acacia resin and sinew and then thrust into a springbok...

Click here for more information.
Wilkins and colleagues from Arizona State University and the University of Cape Town examined 500,000-year-old stone points from the South African archaeological site of Kathu Pan 1 and determined that they had functioned as spear tips.

Point function was determined by comparing wear on the ancient points to damage inflicted on modern experimental points used to spear a springbok carcass target with a calibrated crossbow. This method has been used effectively to study weaponry from more recent contexts in the Middle East and southern Africa. The stone points exhibit certain types of breaks that occur more commonly when they are used to tip spears compared to other uses.

"The archaeological points have damage that is very similar to replica spear points used in our spearing experiment," says Wilkins. "This type of damage is not easily created through other processes."
IMAGE: This is a mounted crossbow used for spearing experiments in a University of Toronto-led study that showed that ~500,000-year-old points from Kathu Pan 1 were used as hafted spear tips....

Click here for more information.
The findings are reported in the paper "Evidence for Early Hafted Hunting Technology" published in the November 16, 2012 issue of Science. Other authors contributing to the study are Benjamin Schoville from Arizona State University, Kyle Brown of the University of Cape Town, and University of Toronto archaeologist Michael Chazan. Funding for the research was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Science Foundation, and the Hyde Family Foundation. Logistical support came from the South African Heritage Resources Agency and the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa.
The points were recovered during 1979-1982 excavations by Peter Beaumont of the McGregor Museum. In 2010, a team directed by Chazan reported that the point-bearing deposits at Kathu Pan 1 dated to ~500,000 years ago using optically stimulated luminescence and U-series/electron spin resonance methods. The dating analyses were carried out by Naomi Porat, Geological Survey of Israel, and Rainer Grün, Australian National University.
Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto
Sean Bettam
Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Toronto

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SRAC and Waverly’s Boy Scout Pack 4011 Team Up

From left to right pictured are SRAC's Janet Andrus, Scout Leader Peg Tracy, scouts Eric Sharpsteen , Scout Leader Bill Snyder, and SRAC's Barb Richards.
(WAVERLY, NY)The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) and Waverly’s Boy Scout Pack 4011 teamed up recently to collect dog and cat food for Stray Haven. Several bags of food were collected and two trips were made with food for the animals.

SRAC’s Deb Twigg said, “Thank you to Peg Tracy and Pack 4011 for joining up with SRAC to get food for Stray Haven. What a great example we set for the kids today about what COMMUNITY means.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SRAC Receives $1,000 from GVCC

Dave Rosenbloom, GVCC, Val Jacowski, Tioga Point Museum, Ken Bracken, Sayre Historical Museum, Deb Twigg, SRAC, Greg Joseph, GVCC
Special thanks to the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce(GVCC)! Recently they held an auction fundraiser for all of the local museums, with each of our organizations receiving $1,000 as a result! The GVCC is a great supporter of all of the communities of the Valley, and we appreciate their recent efforts!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain" Exhibit Opens to the Public Tuesday!

Did you hear about this amazing exhibit in MAIZE (corn) which covers from the ancient uses through current technologies and research of this amazing grain that is used more than any other grain in the world? No- its not in Syracuse, NYC, or Ithaca....

It's right here in the Valley- at SRAC! Opens to the public Tuesday November 6th!

Enter the exhibit and begin the journey!
Maize is the largest production crop in the world and plays a central role in all of United States agriculture and food production. Explore the science of maize, one of the most significant crops to humankind for thousands of years, and why it continues to surprise us today.

This ancient grain was among the many organisms that evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin examined. In his travels to South America, Darwin recognized the tremendous variation in maize and its long history of intentional breeding. In regards to domestication, Darwin stated, “Although man does not cause variability and cannot even prevent it, he can select, preserve, and accumulate the variations given to him by the hand of nature almost in any way which he chooses; and thus he can certainly produce a great result” (from The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Charles Darwin, 1868).

There is alot of interactivity around each corner waiting for you!
The exhibition explores how scientists utilize the process of evolution to encourage the selection of “functional” and useful mutations for increased disease resistance, healthier and larger plants, and maintained diversity. The natural diversity within a species can provide a plant with a buffer against changes in its environment, providing the plant with the flexibility to adapt. Scientists are using conventional and molecular plant breeding to combat world health issues, such as Vitamin A Deficiency, a major health problem for millions of people in the developing world. In extreme situations, for example drought or disease epidemics, diversity can be essential for the survival of the population.
Put on your safety glasses and grind corn like the ancients!

Learn about fascinating advances in the science of plant genetics, the history, the process, and the controversies. Don't miss this opportunity to explore evolution in action through history and science in Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain. Funding for this exhibition is from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program DBI-0820619.

This exhibition is developed and managed by the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth located in Ithaca, New York and has traveled the country, landing in Waverly, NY only until January 26th - Come and see for yourself why everyone continues to say - "There's Always Something Going on at SRAC!"