Those Who Came Before:
The Archaeology of Centre County's Native Americans
Exhibit Dates: Jan. 1 - Oct. 31, 2012
Hours: Sun. / Wed. / Fri. ~ 1:00-4:00 p.m. (Groups by appt.)
Location: Centre Furnace Mansion - Ice House Exhibit Bldg.
1001 E. College Ave., State College, PA 16801
Related Programs & Guest Speakers:
~ May 20 - Artifact Collectors Day: Native American Archaeology
~ June 10 - History Talk: French & Indian War
The exhibit Those Who Came Before – The Archaeology of Centre County's Native Americans explores the rich history of the people who lived in Central Pennsylvania for thousands of years before Euro Americans arrived. Unveiled in October 2011, and on display inside the Centre Furnace Mansion’s reconstructed ice house, this exhibit is presented by the Centre County Historical Society, the Bald Eagle Archaeological Society, and Penn State’s Matson Museum of Anthropology.
Native Americans first came to the region about at the end of the last Ice Age. For thousands of years, they moved seasonally from camp to camp, hunting animals and gathering food. Eventually, they began fishing, gardening and settling down in permanent settlements. About one thousand years ago, they lived in villages and survived by growing corn, beans, and squash while continuing to collect the bounty of the forest and rivers around them. By the time Andrew Boggs, James Potter and a few others had settled in the 1760s-70s in what would be named Centre County, the original inhabitants had already left their territory in response to the encroachment of colonists and other native peoples, the ensuing conflicts, and the resulting spread of diseases.
Because this pre-history is not written in a book, it must be reconstructed by archaeologists from the material remains found of Native American camps and villages. The exhibit will include artifacts, photographs of excavations in the region, and images that try to capture what the lives of Native Americans were like over the millennia that they called Centre County their home.
- Sunday, May 20
Artifact Collectors Day: Native American Archaeology
1:00-4:00 p.m. @ Centre Furnace Mansion
Have you discovered a Native American artifact in your back yard or in the Centre County area? Bring your personal finds to show and tell, or to have identified by archaeologists. Learn about how to document found artifacts so that they may have research value in the future. See private Centre County collections that are normally not on public view. This program will be facilitated by Archaeologists and Bald Eagle Archaeological Society members Melissa Diamanti and Mary Alice Graetzer.
- Sunday, June 10
History Talk: Archaeology of the French & Indian War
2:00 p.m. @ Centre Furnace Mansion
Dr. Jonathan Burns has become involved with archaeological research of French and Indian War-era forts in Pennsylvania. His work at Fort Shirley in Huntingdon County has successfully located the palisade fort and will continue to provide a compelling glimpse into frontier life at this unique archaeological site. You can follow Dr. Burns’ excavations on the AXIS Research, Inc. Facebook page, or at www.axisresearchinc.org.
A native of Huntingdon County, Dr. Burns is a Lecturer in History at Juniata College, Lecturer in Anthropology at Penn State Altoona, Instructor of the Penn State University archaeology field school, and Research Director of the non-profit organization AXIS Research, Inc. His interests include archaeological method and theory, spatial analysis, culture contact, human ecology, development anthropology, and the colonial roots of globalization.