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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking for any PA native american or artifact hunting books or resources to add to my collection. Im from NWPA and it seems information is scarce. I have old maps that roughly indicate villages and trails other than that, information relative to the area seems scarce. Just curious if you guys have any recomendations on a good read or two. Thanks
 

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two must haves for any serious amateur are :

Man, Land and Time by Wm. Turnbaugh
Prehistoric Cultures of Eastern PA/ Jay Custer

Lots of good general info on the state's site as well.
[email protected] Great county by county info/ lithic maps.

and, one of my favorite forums, Arrowheadology.com
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info Red I will check them out. I never honestly even thought to look at that site but it is informational. Surprisingly they devulge pretty good locations...which is a surprise since we are "pot hunters" and all.
 

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Squirrel Pelt I might be taking your comments totally out of context, I hope I am, but if you want locations so that you can "dig" for artifacts that is not legal. Sites in Pennsylvania are protected. If you are not a professional archaeologist you will destroy important information for the sake of the one complete artifact you "might" find. Pot Hunting is why the professionals are as secretive as they are. If you want to learn about the natives in your area join the local archaeological society in your area. A professional archaeologist will lead the group and you will see how the tiniest piece of stone, bone, pottery, etc. helps to tell the story of the prehistory of your area. If you want what the novice collector calls an "arrowhead" ask permission to walk a plowed field near water. Or just walk the banks near a large river or stream. You will find more that way than "digging". I have worked in professional archaeology for over 30 years and I promise unless you know what you are doing "digging" will not get you the artifacts that you seek. Plus you will be destroying valuable information for future generations.
 

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So, do you have an issue with Metal Detecting ? Since it requires digging ? Or are you strictly talking about a random "excavation" type dig ?

I honestly think MD'ing unearths past reasures that would otherwise, NEVER come to the surface, thus, actually providing a window to our historical past ?
 

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Fleroo said:
I honestly think MD'ing unearths past reasures that would otherwise, NEVER come to the surface, thus, actually providing a window to our historical past ?
My feelings exactly. Too many sites sitting untouched to "preserve the history". Preserve what, grass? Get the stuff out and let us see it, put it in a museum. Heck I'd be all about doing digs just to donate the relics for all to see. If it's private land or you have permission, dig away!
 

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The original post said "native american". As far as metal detecting the metal detector is a tool, yes. Private property you basically can do what you want. State Game Land you can not remove any artifact. If you had an old site on your private property yes you could dig it all up as you say. However how will you describe the window on the Historical past if all you have is the metal items you found from your detector? Your window will only be open part way. If an Archaeologist does a controlled piece plot, obtains vertical as well as horizontal distribution of metal objects, then creates a three dimensional map, features can be identified and interpreted for a more complete understanding of life at the site. Your window to History will be opened much wider. I do not post on this forum to fight. As a matter of fact 4c I was going to meet you guys in Lancaster and do all the paper work for the mill site you detected and at my cost. You mention you would like to help out and donate your finds. You can join your local Archaeological Society Chapter. Its listed on the states web site. I don't mind teaching others. The more people understand the more preservation will/might occur. Fleroo your area is very very rich in Historical as well as Prehistorical Sites. Some projects I worked on near you was the Malden Industrial Park, Mon Valley Express Way, Greensburg Bypass, Wheeling Creek Dam, South Point, and Canonsburg sewage relocation just to name a few. As we speak in your area sites are being destroyed by natural gas drilling around Ten Mile Creek. So in a nut shell yes you can destroy private property if you have permission and if you want but is it ethical? I took my 13 year old son turkey hunting above the Allegheny River just north of Pittsburgh. We roosted a double bearded turkey the night prior to our hunt then crawled out. That night we talked and both agreed NOT to shoot the turkey out of the tree. The next morn the turkey was still on the limb at 25 yards my son waited we gave some soft tree clucks but the live hens a few trees away took the tom away. Could my son have killed the bird yes was it legal yes but was it ethical?
 

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I only asked your thoughts on MD'ing, but your passion shines through. Cutting through your response, it seems your thought is to keep ALL items buried, unless accompanied by a professional, archeological dig ? I can understand that thought process, seeing the backgorund you have, although I disagree with it. I don't see MD'ing as unethical, or "tainting" history, if it is done with permission AND tact, regarding the respect of the land, albeit, resulting in only a "slightly opened window" to the historical past. Professional archeological digs are costly, and few and far between. There is plenty of "history" down there for a properly-fitted, and well-intentioned layman to go after.


And I do know of all the sites in Western, PA you mentioned... own land next to the Malden Park. They are churning ground there now for a hotel. One of the biggest archeological digs I can remember in my area, occurred in the late 60's, or early 70's in Grindstone, Fayette County. Some sort of early Native American burial site, or village ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No I was more interested in the local history than anything else. I do search for artifacts though. If I ever indeed stumbled upon anything extremely significant, burial sites...etc. I would never even think of disturbing it. Contrary to what most professionals fail to realize about the " novice" searching for an "arrowhead"..is that they're not just stumbling around with a pick axe and 6 pack. I, as posted above, dont see the point in trying to find items...on private property..that will more than likely go undiscovered. That is what I would consider wasted history. Especially if a mindful " novice" takes the finds to their nearest archeological society to be catalogued and such. Im guessing that the VAST majority of sites the professionals examine are discovered by "novices". Also, Im sure they too, have artifacts on display in their homes, but for the purpose of further study of course??? I think disturbing particular areas that will more than likely contain burial sites is bad juju and a true disturbance/violation of history. Degree or not its disrespectful..only in my novice opinion. I appreciate the responses from the indivuals being helpful to my topic.
 

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Fleroo, thanks for your response. I am NOT against MD'ing, as a matter of fact many company's I have worked for actually hire MD'ers to assist. In a normal plow zone situation the targets dug will not really affect site interpretation per say. As part of any of my investigations I do informant interviews to gather as much prior info. as I can get to shed light on the final report. If the local MD'ers of the area have their artifacts labeled in a bag or box from each site that is very helpful. I/We take pictures and credit/thank informants in the final report that gets sent to the state archaeologist in Harrisburg. The reason I said "per say" is knowing the exact location of metal items helps archaeologists locate subsoil features. Lets say you and I plot 100 plus rose head nails in a small area. We would then place large test units in said area. What we would probably see would be subtle stains in the clay subsoil which would identify the foot print of some type of foundation structure. I have experienced this many times. Last year I was working a civil war site in Frederick MD. So many MD'ers had collected the site I had a tough time finding the other associated ceramic artifacts and features. I got to photo some of the dug artifacts and record the camp however exact artifact location would have been very beneficial. So I am not against MD'ing I think it is a GREAT hobby and very exciting. But artifacts are like pages of a good book you never know when you might find the page that really matters. Keeping your finds in the family with location information is best. However many times I see artifacts being sold at auctions and on Ebay with no location information. All those torn out pages so sad.

Its been awhile since I have been back to the Malden Sites. My informants there were Nellie and William Ailes, John Kulikowski, and Norman Hunt. The Kulikowski Family were very helpful. John allowed me to access the sites via his farm. We uncovered prehistoric as well as historic sites. The Kulikowski Site 36WH1100 was the largest uncovered on the 137 acre tract. It had intact hearths that dated to the archaic time period as well as many projectile points that dated same. While working on the Mon Expressway near the junction of rt. 88 and Malden we uncovered the remains of the Shepley/Barnum house site. Much information was recorded on that site which is now destroyed. They blasted that entire hillside as you know. Many other sites were also uncovered and recorded prior to destruction.
 

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I can agree on the value of properly excavating sites as far as digging is concerned....I, myself, see digging as largely an exercise in futility because I am just into surface finds, and with the advent of no-till farming practices, most of my finding days are over simply because I no longer have access to what lies under the ground...Sad
 
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