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Volume 4, Issue 3


December 2008

Volume 4, Issue 3





Birdstones and Bannerstones


The Bridge Site


Coming Events


Special Day with Jack Holland


The Vatican 1831 Wampum Belt


Hill Collection Added to SRAC


Local Indian Rock Art Published


SRAC’s New Board Member


Tioga Central History Club Visit


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


Drumbeats Through Time 2008


The Atlatl


Thanks to Our Contributors


SRAC Journal Sponsorship


SRAC Gift Shop


ow! lin e n n o C SRA o to join Join G .org/ r e t n Ce .SRA day! www to

• Our Vision The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies (S.R.A.C.) is dedicated to education, research and preservation of the Native American archaeological, cultural and historical assets of the Twin Tier Region of Northeastern PA and Southern NY.

MARSHALL JOSEPH BECKER, PH D SR. RESEARCH FELLOW IN ANTHROPOLOGY THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SRAC PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL One of the most interesting categories of Native American artifacts are carved and polished stone objects that have long been identified as representing sitting or nesting birds, hence the name “bird-stones” (or “birdstones”). I do not know when that term was first applied to these objects, but in “Brooding Ornament” illustrations from The Mound Builders by Stephen D. Peet (1892) 1892 the Rev. Stephen D. Peet illustrated two examples under the title “Brooding Or- David Pieterszen De Vries reported seeing nament.” Charles Willoughby, in 1935, de- natives, probably Susquehannock, playing termined that these “bird” shaped items flutes. Francis Daniel Pastorius reporting were intended to represent singing birds, on the Lenape at the end of the 1600s, and probably had been fastened to flutes. observed that “they diverted themselves Examples of native flutes are noted in the with fifes, or trumpets, in unbroken idleethnographic literature from North America ness …” and others can be found in museum collections. A few accounts written by early trav- Ethnographic examples of flutes demonelers and explorers record the use of flutes strate that the tradition of making flutes among Native Americans. In the 1630s (Continued on page 2)


Site lies behind the trees. The levee system can be seen in the background behind the site. A road has been built along the railroad recently over a small portion of the site that was probably stirred up during the previous construction of the railroad bridge. Test pits 150 feet south of the bridge have produced artifacts. This seems to be the extent of the site downstream. No excavation on the north side of the bridge has been done in the past 30 years to the author’s knowledge.

The 1936 flood exposed this site, locally known as the Bridge Site in Kingston Borough, Luzerne County, Pa. WPA archaeologists and local laborers combined to form a massive research team with the intention of locating the bounds of the site or sites. At the present time, information and artifacts collected at that time have not been located leaving the exact location of the site a mystery. Collectors have found numerous artifacts just inches below the surface with others several feet deep. We have visited a number of collections and found that the site or sites is quite extensive, south and possibly north of the of the Wilkes Barre Connecting Railroad Bridge over the Susquehanna River. The collections contain projectile points of the Archaic through the Late Woodland periods. Since some of the stratigraphy of the (Continued on page 5)

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Birdstones Found in Tioga Center, NY


objects had been intended as bannerlike decorations on staffs, like ornaments used by Roman legions. These are found throughout North America, but finds in useful contexts are extremely rare. For decades the archaeological community has accepted the idea that these bilaterally symmetrical stones were used as counterbalances for atlatls, or throwing sticks used to propel small spears. Since the bow and arrow is a late arrival in the American Northeast, becoming part of native armaments only about 1,000 AD, throwing sticks would have been common hunter’s gear before that date.

Birdstone from Lang Collection 1921, found in Nichols, NY

avoid detection. Thus holes now can be drilled using a wooden dowel mounted in an electric drill, together with crushed and pounded quartz as an abrasive, to avoid telltale microscopic evidence of a metal bit.

The two pieces in the Toledo collections in 1965 had such bilateral symmetry that I suspected them to be fakes. Slate pieces of this type are For more than a century, birdstones common throughout northern Ohio and have been considered important southern Michigan, and in general pieces by “collectors” of Native Ameri- around the southern and western marcan artifacts. By the 1960s the world of gins of the Great Lakes. Both pieces collectors had bid up the prices on were donated to The University in these pieces to the point where forgers January of 1965. The donor, who could make a reasonable living by con- wished to remain anonymous, claimed verting raw stone into examples for that he was told that both pieces had sale or auction. Since SRAC has re- been “found” in southern Michigan, five ceived a number of examples of these or ten years before they were given to unusual artifacts, consideration of their him in 1938 or 1939. individual histories is important. More In 1909 C. Brown offered a compilation than 40 years ago I first inspected a The University of Toledo banded slate of information on “bird-stones,” then birdstone and a bannerstone at The “birdstone” (9B-1) is made so one dark common in collections throughout the University of Toledo, fashioned from layer on each side appears to form an northeastern United States. Associat- exactly the same type of hard banded “eye.” This example has a maximum ing them with ancient flutes awaited slate. I did not know then that this length of 84 mm from the tip of its beak Willoughby’s insightful review. Exam- stone was available only a few miles to the farthest point on the tail. The ples interred with their owners are away at the Bannerstone site in Mon- middle of the bird’s body has a semiknown from very few sites. In 1993 roe County, Michigan. When I first saw circular cross-section, with a minimum David Stothers and Timothy Able sur- these pieces in the collections of The height of 20 mm. The base is roughly veyed artifacts from such contexts, all University of Toledo (objects 9B-1 and trapezoidal in shape with a maximum of which appear to be cremation buri- 9B-2) I suspected that the pair had length of 46 mm, a width at the head been made recently, and by the same end of 22.5 mm, and at the tail end of als of the Archaic period. forger. I decided to publish both as ex- 17 mm. The bird measures 35 mm tall A related category of stone artifact is amples of modern forgeries (Becker to the top of its head and 28 mm to the the “bannerstone.” The term derives 1965). I then noted that as we come to top of the tail. Both the head and the from the early belief that these small know more about the types and tail are laterally narrower than the censources of stones used by the ter of the body. I pointed out (Becker native peoples to make such 1965: 118) that the tail on this piece is 911 Earth artifacts, and demonstrate the wider in the vertical than the horizontal specific stone working tech- direction, whereas just the reverse is Goods for healing self and planet niques that were used, we pro- common to living birds as well as to 404 N. Main St., Athens, PA 18840 vide forgers with increasingly most birdstones. The head is relatively useful information for replicat- thin, tapering to a point at the beak. 570-888-3297 ing these pieces in ways that decorated with wooden ornaments that resemble birdstones was alive throughout the nineteenth century. Artifacts of similar size and shape to ancient stone “birds,” but carved from wood, are found bound to many examples of Native American flutes, suggesting that at some time in the past the stone variants may have been fashioned for the same decorative purposes. These flutes can be found in the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, the Museum of Mankind in London, and in the Victor F. Evans Collection in the Smithsonian Institution.

A Birdstone and a Bannerstone now in Toledo, Ohio

(Continued on page 3)

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The maximum diameter between the outset (“bulging”) eyes is 13 mm. Both eyes stand away from the head approximately 1 mm at the lower margin (toward the base) and about 2 mm at the upper margin. The surfaces of these bulging eyes are not parallel, but rather form planes that if extended forward would meet slightly above the beak. The right eye has a diameter of 12 mm while the left has a diameter of 12.5 mm. The base of the Toledo birdstone is pierced by two biconically drilled holes along the midline (cone-shaped holes drilled from each end that meet at a small connecting point toward the middle). Both are drilled at approximately 45 degree angles from the line of the base, and the holes are both perfectly parallel with the centerline of the base.. Both holes appear to have been drilled with hand tools, but close inspection indicates rough margins toward the centers of a type that suggests that two different bit diameters were used. Such rough margins would be worn smooth in a hand drilled hole. The fore hole has a maximum diameter of 8 mm at the entry at the base, and 7.4 mm at the entry under the neck. The rear hole has approximately the same dimensions. Both holes have traces of what

In Loving Memory of Barbara Twigg SRAC proudly accepted donations made in memory of Barbara Twigg. She will be missed by many, but not forgotten.


appears to be dirt, but this may have been added to give the impression that these were recovered from the ground. The color of these two objects in Toledo is olive gray; both could have been fashioned from the same section of a single geological deposit such as in nearby Michigan. The birdstone has very Birdstone Head from Cowles/SRAC Collection dark vertical banding running diagonally from the front right to been held in a private or public collecthe rear left. The dark bands make a tion before coming to Toledo. Most of precise color evaluation very difficult. A the letters are so small that they would lighter colored spot appears on the be undetectable, and even when noted right side near the center of the base. they are difficult to see with the naked The surface is unusually smooth, but eye. These letters also appear patithe piece is entirely covered with many nated to the same extent as the rest of small scratches that are neither the the piece, which had seemed to indiresult of machine work nor anything cate some age. This subjective analylike a plow scar. They may have been sis was not tested by any scientific deliberately added to a polished sur- method. face in order to give the impression that the piece is old and had been bur- The companion piece (9B-2) is a ied in the ground. The scratching is banded slate “bannerstone” of a very most evident at the centers of the dark gray color. If these were made by eyes, and also around the lower mar- the same crafter, they made have been gins of the eye stalks, and in a de- artificially patinated by soaking them in pressed area on the right side of the a uric acid solution, urine, or some beak. These locations suggest that the other agent that might stain or erode scratching may have resulted from use the surface. The darker color of this of a wire disk used to fashion the bird- piece may reflect a different time of stone and that final polishing removed immersion, or may simply be a result of them from most of the final surfaces. derivation from a different portion of Three imperfections are noted. One is the banded slate source material. In at the tip of the tail and two appear on the bannerstone the banding passes the base. One of the two on the base through the artifact in a vertical pattern may be the result of accidental contact but running parallel to the long axis of with a grinding wheel. A very faint the piece. This creates concentric crack is located along the left side ex- “circles” on each of the nearly flat tending from the center of the tail down sides. One side, however, has a motto the base, where the crack appears tling at the center that is the result of a to divide. Then both aspects of the dark band being near the exposed surcrack run close to one another with face of the piece. both ending at the read hole. The maximum length of the bannerMost telling is a minute inscription on stone is 116 mm. The wing or “bit” the right side of the base, with letters edges are almost perfectly symmetrislightly over 1 mm tall: “MADE IN cal. One has a maximum width of 54 USA”. This faint inscription was noted mm while the other measures 52 mm. only after an intensive search was The distance between the opposing made for catalogue numbers of some (Continued on page 4) other indication that this piece had

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ends of the wings is 92 mm in both cases. The thickness at the center of the piece is 18 mm. The width parallel to the drilled hole in the center is 31 mm on the reverse side, but just over 30 mm on the obverse side. The distance above the drilled hole, to a 92 mm imaginary line connecting the tips of the wing, is 11 mm. On the opposite side this distance is 12 mm, reflecting the nearly perfect symmetry of this object. The diameter of the hole at the upper end is 11 mm, and it then tapers very gradually over the 31 mm width of the piece to emerge as a hole only 10 mm in diameter.


Creek at Inwood (Baker Field), Manhattan in 1937, also was carved from steatite.

Note should be made that a possible prototype of Broken Birdstone Tail Section (Redrilled)the Toledo banCowles/SRAC Collection nerstone, said to be from Ohio, was first published by Peet in 1892 (his Plate VI, facing p. A total of eight nicks are noted along both bit edges, but 273), and also was included in George Gordon’s later only two of these are as large as 1 mm. A hairline crack compilation of objects that have the form of bannerstones can be seen in the very center of the right half of the piece (1916). The proportions appear to be exactly the same. as it appears in an illustration (Becker 1965: Figs. 3 and These vary only slightly from another bannerstone in4). Deep scratches are noted on both side of this piece, cluded by Gordon that is said to have come from Wisconbut none alone either of the surfaces through which the sin. Modern techniques of microscopic study and metalhole is drilled. The scratches primarily run parallel to the seeking trace element analysis may be a more simple way long axis of the bannerstone, but several of the deeper to confirm my belief that the two items in Toledo (Becker scratches appear to be erratic in direction. Toward the bit 1965) were the products of a modern crafter living near edges, or wings, these scratches disappear. Once again, the final grinding process seems to have removed scratches that may have been part of the process to “rough out” this item. No telling inscription appears on the bannerstone. The perfection of dimensions as well as of the lines indicates that modern machines were involved in the production of both pieces. The vague and limited histories that came with the two items in Toledo do not, in and of themselves, provide conclusive evidence for the modern production of these pieces. Analysis of component elements in the designs, form, and even of the techniques of manufacture for a series of similar artifacts of known provenance would provide some basic information against which these data might be compared. What is remarkable is that during the 43 years since these two items were first described in print few studies have been undertaken to better understand or analyze these categories of artifacts. One half of a bannerstone was recovered ca. 20 years ago during excavations at Pennsbury Manor at the eastern margin of Pennsylvania (36 Bu 19; see Becker 1988). This is one of the few examples for which we have a mineralogical analysis, demonstrating that the steatite (talc) from which it was made may have derived from one of the many outcroppings of this mineral that are exposed in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware (Becker 1988: Fig. 1). Steatite exposures are well known from Washington, DC up into eastern Canada and were extensively utilized by native peoples during many periods of prehistory, as well as by European immigrants. I suspect that half of a bannerstone of similar shape, found on Spuyten Duyvil

Incised, Winged Bannerstone From the Ted Keir Collection On Display at the SRAC Exhibit Hall

the western end of Lake Erie, probably copying the forms from objects in known collections. Only artifacts excavated from controlled situations can be sufficiently well documented to provide a wealth of archaeological information. Reliable surface collections, from specific and well documented locations, provide a limited but significant amount of important information. Entire surface collections that may be associated with an excavation, as well as those from a documented and recorded site that has not been excavated, are of considerable value in reconstructing the vanishing past. Many of these surface collections do not represent an ancient native village, but reveal the location of a favored encampment area that was used perhaps once or twice each year, and often for 15,000 years or more! The loss or discard of (Continued on page 5)

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ticularly supportive of the efforts being made by the staff at the SRAC to gather and preserve collections that reflect only one or two stone tools each year can produce fantas- the diligence of individuals in a local region to gather up tic numbers of artifacts at a site that has no associated the evidence of our rich Native American heritage. We are sub-surface features (shelters, caches, burials). Yet these at a point in time when these collections are subject to surface finds can be very revealing of the history of such a sale and division. Every effort made to preserve and docusite. Nothing can replace the information provided by the ment these collections contributes to our understanding of recovery of even one or more artifacts from a context that our own heritage. is carefully recorded, whether it be a knoll on which there were encampments each year or a location where a settle- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ment once existed. Observing artifacts from a surface collection or from the contexts of burials, caches, or other This paper provides an updated version of one of my first “social” situations such as trash pits provides impressive publications (Becker 1965), intended here for a well ininsight into the meanings that these items may have had formed general audience. Readers interested in a full bibliography may write or e-mail me for a copy. Sincere thanks for the people who made and used them. are due to Jonathan King (Museum of Mankind, London) How many of the “intact” artifacts that appear in private and to Prof. Richard Swain (Director, Francis Harvey collections are forgeries is difficult to determine. Farmers Green Library) and his entire staff, and to Jeannie Carpenand other surface-collectors who gathered native artifacts ter for her important contributions. My sincere thanks also on their own property, or from the lands of friends and are due to the members of the Congress of The United neighbors, are far less likely to include deliberate fakes. States of America for their support of tax laws that stimuFor collectors who bought and sold artifacts the numbers late and encourage research in this and other areas of of fakes entering their collections was probably propor- enquiry. The ideas and interpretations presented here are, tional to the amounts they were willing to spend. I am par- of course, solely my own responsibility. (Continued from page 4)

THE BRIDGE SITE CONT. (Continued from page 1)

sight had been compromised by improper excavation and the rush of the overflowing Susquehanna River, Fran Garrahan and I decided in 1995 to test several areas to see if a straigraphy did exist. Upon selected test pits, we were able to identify a Late Woodland horizon. We did not feel it was the proper time to continue any deeper. If the uppermost component was intact, we could assume that the lower levels should be possibly also untouched. Luckily strong winds and bad weather had dropped a number of large trees across most of the site over the years, actually protecting the site from any unorganized excavation. This past summer (2008), Al Pesotine, Pan Cultural Associates; Dr. Jerry Reisinger, Edythe Gozdiskowski, president of the Frances Dorrance Chapter No. 11 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology; and myself did a cursory investigation of the site. Net weights, choppers, hammerstones and other stone tools were found surface hunting. We concurred Large downed trees from previous construction upstream and that the site is still partially intact and can tell us a great deal storms protect the site for future professional excavation about the people who had camped and possibly lived here. was like a little state with its own government. It was nothing One of the questions that always occurs with multicompo- more than the old English form of Lords and Vassals. The nent sites is “Why did they keep coming back to this site for Lords were the Penns and the Vassals were the people who thousands of years?” We were lucky to find the possible an- eventually ended up renting from the Penns. The plan of the swer from the State Archives located in Harrisburg. In the Penn family was to own 10 per cent of all the land called 1770’s the Penn family had issued a number of “Manors” Pennsylvania. with the permission of the King of England. Each of these (Continued on page 6) was some of the prime lands across Pennsylvania. A Manor The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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THE BRIDGE SITE CONT. inger has spent a lifetime trying to create a natural area here based on the early Native American traditions. The Fortunately, two Manors lay on each side of the Susque- site has proven to be an aid in getting more groups inhanna River at this site. They had been surveyed and volved in the project. The area is hoped to be a summer maps had been issued. At the exact location of the site, school for archaeology classed from our local colleges and the ancient maps showed a shallow waterfall. This was high schools. most likely one of the few crossings of the Susquehanna River for miles. It also provided a place to funnel water Recently we had the honor of hosting Tracy Shenandoah, and net and trap migrating fish through narrow opening in Faith Keeper of the Onondaga Nation and Dar Dowdy, the submerged rock ledges. The fires from the camps at Faith Keeper of the Seneca Nation. They both came down night might have looked like a small city. People from dif- from New York State to do a Thanksgiving ceremony at ferent groups meeting together swapping stories while the site. The late Paul Waterman, chief of the Onondaga they smoked their fish. They would probably only spend Nation had visited our area on several occasions, relating that period of time at the falls until the migrating fish com- to us that our Wyoming Valley has great ancestry with the pleted their run. Then they were off to take advantage of Iroquois people. He spoke of the legend of Hiawatha, the what other cycle of food mother nature was going to pro- peace maker, who he believed was born on Monoconock vide, berries in late summer and nuts toward fall. Deer Island, just upstream from the Bridge Site. bones prove to be the most numerous bones found at It seems to be ironic, that the Battle of Wyoming or locally sites in the Wyoming Valley. Of course, they could hunt called the Wyoming Massacre, them any time of year with no migration to wait for. The was fought along the same dried and smoked fish provided them with food for many stretch of river in the Wyoming months, seasonally. Valley. The Battle of Wyoming The ledges in the river are still visible today. This was also was a harbinger of things to the reason for building the Connecting Railroad Bridge at come. The ancient ones would this location. The solid rock ledges across the whole river be avenged for their part in the battle. Their houses were bottom provided a solid base for railroad bridge pillars. burned, their crops destroyed The site might have been quite extensive; however, a and they were forced to leave levee system was built years ago to protect the low lying their homeland. What we have flats along the river. Since that time construction of a rec- left are the artifacts left behind reation building, a small shopping center, and a number of by them and their forefathers. offices has compromised any archaeology beyond the The archaeology we do today levee system. This leaves the land between the river and is the history of the once the levee still covered with trees and basically untouched proud people who lived and John Orlandi, Author and for nearly a mile. The Borough of Kingston has shown in- roamed the great Northeast. Amateur Archaeologist terest in creating a park along this stretch. Dr. Jerry Reis(Continued from page 5)

COMING EVENTS History's Mysteries - Every First Tuesday of the Month! Presentations TBA Mineralogy - Marty Borko - February still working in this one SRAC Archaeology Border Meeting w/ NYS TriCities and PA Andaste Chapters of Archaeology - will occur bimonthly at SRAC and are open to the public and FREE!!! February 16th from 6:30 - 7:30, Deb Twigg will present a little known yet amazing site, "The Murray Garden." The actual garden of Louise Welles Murray, this site actually is known for being the place where a "Great Indian Chief" was unburied and on display in the Tioga Point Museum for many years. It is also known to be the site where the strange shell-tempered pottery with faces were uncovered that to this day have never been found anywhere else in the world. This along with other strange burial practices and unique finds will keep the audience amazed at this local site that has been long forgotten by many. The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Zebehazy, arrived at SRAC before noon. SRAC board members Tom Vallilee, Ted Keir, and Dick Cowles spent what was left of the morning hours in the exhibit hall pouring over artifacts. On her lunch break, Deb joined them at a local restaurant to listen as Jack told of his specific interest in chert (otherwise known as flint) and how he was the only person who had chased this lithic material across all 50 states. In fact, Jack has the only library in his laboratory that covers the whole country, which researchers use on their own lithic materials. In fact he has been recognized by the Hauptman-Woodward Medical ReJack D. Holland, Research Fellow, search Institute in Buffalo, NY as a Buffalo Museum of Science "Pioneer of Science" in 2008: "Holland has made fundamental contributions to The 2008 meeting of the New York the study of prehistoric stone tools, and State Archaeological Association the analysis and classification of the (NYSAA) was in Western New York at lithic (stone) materials. As a young the Holiday Inn in Lockport, NY. One of man, Holland moved to Buffalo to work the highlights of that meeting included at the Ford Stamping Plant. Following a lithic session honoring Jack Holland. retirement from his engineering posiAfter his visit to SRAC in November, tion, he pursued an atypical largely self -taught second career to become a we can understand why. leading expert in the field he pioJack, who lives in Buffalo, NY called Deb Twigg recently to say he wanted to visit SRAC as soon as he could. He said that he was very interested in lithics; and Deb him that she’d make sure Ted Keir could meet him when he came for a visit, because Ted has over 100 pieces in a lithic library from Pennsylvania. Jack said in a very gracious manner that he would be very glad to see Ted again and that he himself has around 30,000 pieces from all 50 states in his lithic library. Later Deb Twigg reflected on this conversation stating, “Yes, I did feel stupid for not knowing that!” At any rate, Jack didn't seem to mind that she was not aware of his celebrity status in the NYS Archaeology sector and in fact made it to SRAC in two days after that phone call. The fact that Mr. Holland contacted SRAC, and visited from so great a distance, is great proof of the reach that SRAC has established in Pennsylvania and New York. The trip alone was at least 3 hours, one way; but Jack and two friends, Joe Sullivan and Wendy

neered." ( Public_Programs/Pioneers/ Pioneers_2008.html) At 5:00 p.m. they were still studying the collections and chatting away in the exhibit hall. In the end, Ted gave Jack a piece of Pennsylvania jasper that Jack didn't have yet and Deb gave him a copy of her "Spanish Hill" book. But the greatest gift came from Mr. Holland, as he honored SRAC by making the trip and in the end telling us how impressed he was with what we have created. To sum the day up, many friendships were made as were promises to get back together soon and to stay in touch via email and phone. Tom, Ted and Dick all commented on how much they learned from Jack in just the day's visit. It was an honor to meet Jack Holland and to share our like passions. Although you can read about him in many articles and write ups on the web and from other sources, what they might not tell you is that he is a true gentleman and a credit to world of archaeology.

Wendy Zebehazy, Tom Vallilee, Dick Cowles, Ted Keir, Joe Sullivan, Jack Holland, and Deb Twigg at recent visit to SRAC

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The Vatican 1831 Wampum Belt: A Day of Study at the Vatican Museums, 9 December 2008 BY MARSHALL JOSEPH BECKER, PH D, lections under her care. During this review two wampum belts were identified. One of these bands had been seen in Rome by David Bushnell nearly a century earlier, and published twice in his works. Bushnell’s studies had led me, as early as 1975, to look for the elaborate band that he illustrated. Twenty five years later three disparate sets of activities converged to reveal a great deal about this puzzling wampum band. The first set was the actual re-discovery (Becker 1999) and publication (Becker 2001) of what we now identify as the VATICAN 1831 wampum band. The other two activities are as different as night and day.

In 2008, the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec, the province sponsored a wide range of activities at home and abroad. As part of this celebration the Mi’kmac claimant was treated to a visit to the Vatican to see the wampum band that he continues to allege (but not in court) was part of his “cultural heritage.” Dr. Console used the visit to organize a formal “Day of Study” at the Vatican, to which scholars and museum people from all over Italy could assemble. During the day scholars from as far away as Poland met to hear about the history of this impressive wampum band, which was the last example made by natives for any traditional purpose. Professors Luca Codignola, M. J. Becker, and others presented formal papers, while a Mi’kmaq colleague offered a story completely unrelated to any of the evidence, but claiming that he has special knowledge of these things, possibly through his grandmother. This “Day of Study” began in 1999 when, as part of a program of research focusing on Native American objects held in the Vatican Museums, Ester Console took me on a tour of the col-

me to G. Pizzorusso in Rome. By chance, Pizzorusso, who specializes in native peoples who came to Rome, had just found the documents relating to the fabrication of this wampum band in 1831 as a gift to Pope Gregory XVI.

At that same time a group of Mi’kmaq in Canada were falsely claiming in court that this wampum band, known only from the Bushnell illustrations, was an early treaty belt between their people and the Vatican. This false testimony was withdrawn when the real history of the belt was revealed (see Becker 2006). Despite withdrawal of his testimony, the Mi’kmaq who made the court claim continued to make pubWhen I identified the VATICAN 1831 lic claims regarding this band, which band, I thought that this elaborate ex- was in no way related to the Mi’kmaq. ample of an “ecclesiastical wampum In fact, the Mi’kmaq never used wamband” must be documented some- pum bands in any context before 1930. where in the vast Vatican archives. All In December the audience listened the known ecclesiastical bands, identipolitely to all these presentations refied by the presence of a Latin cross garding the history and origins of this at the center, were made by missionlarge wampum band. But, who were aries at convert communities to be sent they to believe – a bunch of academics to another convert group or to religious in their suits and ties or a genuine nacenters in Europe. Two of the finest tive fabulist, with his long braid in the examples are now at Chartres Cathemodern “Indian” fashion and his moddral in France. I contacted Prof. Luca ern beaded artifacts made of commerCodignola in Genoa, an expert on nacially tanned skins? tive peoples in Canada, who directed

Replica Wampum Belt in Reversed Colors

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The Vatican 1831 Wampum Belt: A Day of Study at the Vatican Museums Cont. *Photos courtesy of Dr. Bartosz Hlebowicz *References available on request. ~ SIDEBAR ~ The impressive VATICAN 1831 wampum belt, commissioned by priests of the Sulpician Order as a gift to Pope Gregory XVI, has a Latin cross at the center that clearly identifies it as an ecclesiastical band. One half of this long band bears symbols relating to the Catholic Church. These include a figure of a church as well as the Catholic symbol representing the keys to St. Peter’s. On the other side of the cross, among the symbols representing native culture, are a bow and arrow and other elements. In recent years the brief text that appears next to the church has been interpreted by various Native American groups as representing their own language or a treaty made by their ancestors with the Vatican. Not one of these modern claimant groups was involved with the peoples at the Lake of the Two Mountains (Oka) where the belt was made. Although David Bushnell had published excellent illustrations of this band a century ago, no one could “read” the apparent “text” on the band until recently. It reads “Whọmpọm”. The word, like the symbol of the keys of St. Peter’s, is inverted! The priests who commissioned the belt provided drawings of the images they wished to include on the band. They even underlined the word “Whompom” with a series of four short dashes to indicate which way was “up.” But the convention

of underlining was lost on the non-literate people who constructed the band. They faithfully reproduced the image in wampum beads, where, if the text is read upside down, the underlining appears to represent accents. The inability of the natives to “read” the writing or to decode the convention of “underlining” points out why this word was included on the “Christian” (European) side of the cross. Literacy, as represented by this “text,” was then part of the European world, where it remained for centuries.

Wonderful shot by Dr. Bartosz Hlebowicz of the word “WHOMPOM” on the actual belt. (Note: Text above is intended to illustrate the word on the belt below.)

Hill Collection Added to SRAC Exhibits The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) has recently received another donation of Native Indian artifacts by a local collector. George W. Hill of Lowman, New York donated approximately 300 artifacts and several books after attending SRAC’s “DrumBeats Through Time” event on October 25th. This event included the opening of the SRAC Exhibit Hall which displays thousands of locally found artifacts donated by many collectors from around the region. 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. Prior to the Hill donation, the 5 year old organization had 7 collections donated to them, which until the opening of the Exhibit Hall was created at the Center, remained in storage off site for safe keeping. Because SRAC is dedicated to preserving local collections, a unique feature of the collections on display includes the collector’s name and picture next to their artifacts. SRAC’s executive director explained, “At this year’s DrumBeats we recognized each collector that donated their collections to us to date. In the future, we will make a special portion of each DrumBeats event to recognize the collectors for that year.” She added, “We do this to make sure that our collec-

George Hill, Ted Keir, and Tom Vallilee

tors know that we understand that these artifacts, that many have found themselves, sometimes over a lifetime, are not only scientific evidence, but mementos of a person’s life; and they deserve to be recognized in that way.”

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Local Indian Rock Art Published in "Making Pictures in Stone" "Making Pictures in Stone - American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast," was written by Edward J, Lenik, and published by the University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Lenik is a registered professional archaeologist and wellknown author of several works concerning American Indian rock art. This book is an illustrated resource concerning rock art created by the Indians of Northeast America for Lenik’s books are available at research purposes. and most book Remarkably, some of the retailers. examples used to represent notable rock art in the book are local rock art supplied to the author by the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC.)

E l l s w o r th Cowles in 1933, a "grid stone" tablet from the Ted Keir/ SRAC Collection, and a blue slate amulet from the Cowles/SRAC collection that is incised with many designs including a wolf or bear figure.

Gridstone Tablet from Keir/SRAC Collection Published in "Making Pictures in Stone"

Deb Twigg, SRAC's Executive Director explained, "It is both exciting and very significant that our local archaeology is being used as a resource for ongoing research on a national level." She added, "This is just the beginning now that SRAC finally has their artifacts accessible to the public at our new center in Waverly."

Rock art is a term used for various forms of human artistic expression by incising, etching, painting, pecking, or otherwise physically changing the faces of rocks, the walls of caves, or simply by moving or piling rocks on the landscape to form a design or pattern. Rock A n y o n e Animal-Shaped Effigy Hearth Discovered by art subsets include interested in Ellsworth Cowles in 1933 and Published in petroglyphs, pictographs, learning more "Making Pictures in Stone" engravings, geoglyphs, about these artifacts or others found in our region can visit SRAC at and petroforms. 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY. The center houses The specific rock art from thousands of locally found artifacts and is open from 1-5 our region that was used Blue Slate Amulet Published in Tuesday through Friday and from 11-4pm on Saturday. in Lenik's recent book Anyone with questions are asked to call 607-565-7960, or "Making Pictures in Stone" includes an animal effigy email hearth discovered by

S R AC W E L C O M E S N E W B OA R D M E M B E R ! SRAC would like to welcome Mark Madill to the SRAC board. Mark is President of the Andaste Chapter of Pennsylvania Archaeology as well as a board member for the Wyalusing Valley Museum in Wyalusing, PA. Mark has also been involved in many historical projects concerning Bradford County, PA and has taken part in archaeological digs in this region as well.

On a cell phone?

SRAC is honored to have Mark accept the position with SRAC, and look forward to his help in fulfilling our mission in the future. The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Tioga Central History Club Visits SRAC Eric Gutierrez, an 8th grade history teacher and advisor for the club at Tioga Central School in Tioga Center, NY had visited SRAC recently. Within weeks he returned with a busload of students and members of the school's History Club. SRAC's Ted Keir gave a short lecture about our local archaeology and prehistory and later gave the students a tour of the SRAC exhibit hall where thousands of local Native American artifacts are on display. While touring the exhibit Hall, the students were also challenged to take a quiz about artifacts and historical information on exhibit and all students that submitted quizzes with perfect scores received a prize. SRAC’s Deb Twigg explains, "We started offering school tours just recently, and hope that many schools will take advantage of the opportunity we offer to all schools for free." She added, "We want to thank Eric Gutierrez for bringing his students down to SRAC, I think Ted and I enjoyed it as much as the kids did!"

Students and adults alike enjoyed SRAC’s Exhibit Hall during the recent school field trip.

The SRAC Exhibit Hall is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1-5pm, and Saturdays from 11-4pm. If you would like to schedule a special school or bus trip to

SRAC, call the Center at (607)565-7960, or email for more information.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at SRAC SRAC proudly participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony acknowledging their membership in the Valley Chamber of Commerce. The ceremony was led by the Valley Chamber of Commerce at the center at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY on Thursday, November 20, 2008. Although the Center has been open for some time having lectures, gift shop hours, and so on, the addition of the Exhibit Hall has completed the first stage of SRAC’s existence. With the Exhibit Hall stocked full of thousands of artifacts and open to the public on a regular basis, it was finally time to begin directing the public to it! Exhibits are available to be viewed from 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am—4 pm. Admission fees are $3 for adults, $1 for seniors and students. SRAC members can view our

exhibits during regular hours for free.

SRAC Board Members Deb Twigg, Dick Cowles, Ted Keir, Mary Ann Taylor, and Tom Vallilee at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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.

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! Call Deb Twigg at 607-727-3111 or email us at The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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DRUMBEATS THROUGH TIME 2008 On October 25th 2008, we held our 5th annual event at SRAC that we call "DrumBeats Through Time." Over the years we have done many things at DrumBeats, but this particular year was special in that we were able to hold it in our very own building at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY, which we purchased in December 2007. To date we have a huge gift shop, lecture hall, and during our DrumBeats event this year, we unveiled our Exhibit Hall filled with thousands of artifacts that will rotate constantly as well as a huge mural funded by the DEC Art of the Southern Finger Lakes grant. The event began with our membership meeting/luncheon, followed by a presentation by Dr. Dee Wymer of Bloomsburg University called "Flowers for the Dead.� Then we had authentic Native American dance and songs presented by the "Buffalo Creek Dancers" who were from the Seneca Nation of New York. Lastly, we unveiled our wonderful mural after a dedication was made by Dick Cowles. Several hundred attended the event. We hope you enjoy a gallery of images from the event. If you had the chance to attend, I hope that it brings you the fond memories that it brings to those of us at SRAC. Thank you to all the folks that sent photos to make this possible!

Young Visitor in Exhibit Hall

Expert Presenter, Dr. Dee Anne Wymer, Bloomsburg University

The Mirans Helping Out with Marcia Cowles

The Audience Joins In With the Dancers

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Volume 4, Issue 3



Board Member, Janet Andrus, Happy to be Working Her First Drumbeats!

Guy Abbell, Beryl Cleary, and Maryann Mader Gloria Dicks and Friends

Caterer, Kim Glab With Erik Franklin Marty Borko

Unveiling of the New Mural!

Dick Cowles & Ron Cole

Daryl Stratton Dick Jackson

Collector’s Setting Up in the Exhibit Hall

The Vanderlaans

The Sloats

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Volume 4, Issue 3



Contact Us!

Our Headquarters Mail: SRAC PO Box 12 Sayre, PA 18840 Phone: 607-727-3111 Email:

Our Center Location: 345 Broad St. Waverly, NY Phone: 607-565-7960

Our Website



*Editor’s Note: An atlatl is a spear throwing device used by the earliest hunters in North America. It predates the bow and arrow, which only began being used in the northeast around 1000 AD, by thousands of years. SRAC member Jack Rowe has been a big part of the revived interest and use of the atlatl in our region. In the following article, Jack explains. My interest in collecting Indian artifacts has snowballed in many ways. I've learned to flint knap, make cordage, fire-by-friction, make pottery, brain tanning, and many other ancient technologies. My favorite ancient technology by far is throwing darts. The atlatl is fun and a great family hobby that I promise you too would enjoy. It all started in 1993 after "the storm of the century" when a buddy asked if I wanted to hunt for arrowheads. Well I found some! Let me tell you I was hooked. I spent the rest of that year hunting artifacts, everyday, until the snow fell. This went on for a couple years. I was learning things primitive, but never saw how arrowheads were made. There was a stone tool show going on in 1996 that I visited in Letchworth State Park in New York, where I could see firsthand how arrowheads were made. On my way in to the show I saw the atlatl range. When I left the stone tool show, I had an atlatl and a dart. Now I knew a little something about flint knapping and atlatls. So here we are a

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dozen years later. I'm learning more of those technologies that all our ancestors used. And I'm now making atlatls, darts and other things primitive and selling them on the World Wide Web; old and new technologies working together. There are two types of atlatls, and the way to tell the different types apart is in the way it's held. The split-finger grip atlatl, the type I use, you split your fingers around the handle, like this.(Picture 1) Or it could have a hole (or two) like this. (Picture 2) The hammer grip atlatl is held as the name implies. (pic3) There are many variations of the two types; each as individual as the person using it. Most atlatls average between 19 and 25 inches long. Each has a handle and a spur. The spur, located near the top rear of the atlatl, could be made from antler, wood, bone and even stone. The spur is inserted into a cup like depression on the dart and helps to hold the dart in place. My 88 inch darts, which look very much like arrows, are made from river cane. They average 5 ounces. Darts could also be made from wood saplings, hardwood dowels scarfed together or modern materials like aluminum and graphite.

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The atlatl I call the Lamoka on my web site are copied from the artifacts that were found in burials at Indian Knoll in Kentucky by William S. Webb. It's a hammer grip atlatl of a type I believe was commonly used

Online Donations

Jack Rowe With Part of His Collection

(Continued on page 15)

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

(Continued from page 14)

are known as Basketmaker atlatls. It is believed the Anasazi people used this type for hunting. The Chemung is the atlatl type I use in competition and would use for hunting if it were legal. Mine is 24 inches long and weighs 8 1/4 ounces. A Many people make this type of atlatl with a round wooden stone weight is attached 6 inches back from the spur. The shaft between the antler handle and spur. The thought is dart rest, located near the grip is a modern adaptation and the bannerstones found with the antler handle and spur in helps to hold the dart firmly in place. The grip is comfortable the burials excavated by Webb were attached to round and feels as if it's a part of you, throughout the throwing wooden shafts on atlatls as atlatl weights because the banmotion. In a hunting situation I could hold the atlatl and dart nerstones have a round hole drilled through them. I think ready for a long period of time. Not many split-finger grip the "so-called bannerstones" were used for many things but atlatls are used by atlatlists these days. not weights. A 1/2" wood atlatl shaft could be used to throw darts but would be quite stiff. My wooden shafts are flat and The Genesee is a copy of a prehistoric atlatl also. A groove have flex, which is important in the performance of the at- runs the length of the atlatl for quick loading of the dart. It's latl. A stone weight is usually attached to the atlatl some- an Aztec atlatl. Maybe one like this was used to fight the where between the handle and spur. This is to offset the Spanish who feared the atlatl. darts weight forward of the atlatl. I do this by having someAtlatls are a short range implement. I can throw accurately one place the stone weight on different areas of the atlatl out to about 30 yards. After that my accuracy decreases. shaft while I'm set as if to throw, until I feel the chemistry Darts can fly a very long distance. The world record disbetween the atlatl and dart. What that means is the dart and tance throw with an atlatl and dart is over 840 feet. atlatl feel as one. You don't want to feel any of the dart weight out in front. For more information on atlatls and darts visit my web site The Chemung (Picture 1) is a split-finger type atlatl. Many of this type of atlatls were found in the arid south west and during the archaic period. It's a three piece atlatl made from whitetail deer antler and wood.

RECENT CONTRIBUTORS TO SRAC Special thanks to the following for their support: • Jack Andrus • Michael Belzer and Charlotte Cowles • Rural Amity Lodge No. 70 • Janet Andrus

In addition, two donations were made in memory of our Executive Director’s mother, Barbara Twigg. • Diane Menio • The Lunch Club

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Volume 4, Issue 3

PLEASE CONSIDER SPONSORING THE SRAC JOURNAL WITH YOUR CONTRIBUTUION AT ONE OF THE LEVELS LISTED BELOW. Many of you are familiar with our quarterly journal, and the quality and volume of educational information we try to bring to the community throughout the year. In fact our range of readership includes high school students to retired persons as well as professional scientists and local universities. The journal has grown into a well read and respected publication; and we hope that it will continue to grow and be a resource of educational and entertaining material for years to come. Obviously, with this continued growth not only in content and pages but distribution, there are added costs associated. For this reason, we have decided to offer sponsorship by local individuals, families, and businesses who want to help us in our efforts. We currently publish and distribute 1,000 copies each quarter ~ that's currently 4,000 copies each year, with our coverage mainly in Bradford County PA and Tioga and Chemung Counties in NY, but we have readership that reaches far beyond these boundaries as well. How Can You Become a Sponsor? 1.) Choose your level of sponsorship and how many issues you would like to sponsor below. If you would like to sponsor multiple quarterly journals (4 per year) or even a whole year, just multiply the sponsorship level. 2.) Tell us what you would like us to print 3.) Include your check along with this completed form. Thank you for being an active supporter of this worthy cause!

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF SPONSORSHIP LEVELS WITH FORMATS AND APPROXIMATE SIZES. • Platinum $500.00 Our top level of sponsorship! With your donation of $500 you will be facilitating 1,000

copies of one quarterly journal. Your donation will be recognized with a full half-page gray-scale or black and white ad that can measure up to 7 1/2” wide by 5” tall. (Sorry, but we can accept only one Platinum sponsor per issue; however, you can reserve for future issues.) Please email artwork and text you wish included to

• Gold


• Silver


• Sup-

porter $25.00

• Friend


The Leadership Company 234 Main Street Your Town, USA 555555-123123-4321

The Hollowell Family Jan, Christy Ryan, Allison, and Tommy

Please circle the level of sponsorship you wish to make; and indicate what you would like your sponsor recognition to say in the space below…..anything you like! LINE 1



LINE 4 (Limit lines to 35 characters. Gold level can include logo if space allows. Please email logos to

The Johnson Family In loving memory of our dad John

The Lucky Penny Club

Send check along with this form to: For additional information call Deb Twigg at 607-727-3111 or email

SRAC PO Box 12 Sayre, PA 18840

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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Volume 4, Issue 3


VISIT SRAC’S GIFT SHOP AND EXHIBIT HALL! Looking for something special for that history buff or that person who is hard to buy for? Visit SRAC's Gift Shop at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY! It is open from 1-5pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 11-4pm on Saturdays! And while you are there, stop in and visit our exhibit hall, filled with thousands of locally found artifacts!

Handmade beaded jewelry!

SRAC has a huge assortment of titles in stock relative to our region's early history! We also have maps!

Incredible wood carvings by Bill Underwood!

Huge variety of rocks, minerals, geodes, etc. from all over the world! Fabulous collection framed artwork from artists including Sue Hakes, Albert White, Lee Thompson, Ed Cordes, and more!

Variety of art objects, functional and decorative, by artists including Gloria Riegel, Bill Underwood, Craig Maurey, and more!

Lots of fun things for the kids!


Deb Twigg

Tom Vallilee

Dick Cowles

Janet Andrus

Ted Keir

Mary Ann Taylor

Susan Fogel

Mark Madill

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

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The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies PO Box 12 Sayre, PA 18840

Volume 4, Issue 3

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The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies ~ ~ email

SRAC Journal - Volume 4, Issue 3  
SRAC Journal - Volume 4, Issue 3  

Winter 2008, SRAC Journal: SRAC is dedicated to education, research and preservation of the region's Native American archaeological, cultura...