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Archaeology chapter, museum seeks volunteers for summer dig

If you like learning about archaeology, American Indians and their tools, then the North Central Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology would like to hear from you.

The chapter, which meets monthly at the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, seeks new members to help with its mission to discover and preserve the region's American Indian heritage.
The chapter provides archaeological excavation training sessions for new members and teaches them how to identify artifacts. This season's archaeology dig will be held at the Muncy Canal Heritage Park and Nature Trail. The project is sponsored by the Muncy Historical Society and Museum of History. Follow this link to learn more about this exciting program.

Archaeology students of Lycoming College, under the direction of instructor Robin Van Auken, will participate in the dig and subsequent laboratory work. Their research will be incorporated into a report on the site.

Membership in the local archaeology chapter is open to all. According to Van Auken, there are a variety of tasks involved in an excavation suitable for all regardless of age and physical ability. However, participants must be members of the archaeology chapter and adults must accompany younger students.
"This is an excellent opportunity for the public to help protect the state's valuable archaeological resources," Van Auken said. "Although, by its very nature, archaeology is destructive, we're able to recover artifacts and information about the people who created and used them. Without volunteers, this information would be lost forever."

Regular chapter meetings take place at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month during the fall and winter at the museum, 858 W. Fourth St. More information is available by calling 326-3326. Chapter membership applications, excavation manual and a calendar of events are available on the Internet at

Photo Gallery from Previous SPA Digs

Above, Jimmy Scott of Little League Baseball Inc. volunteers on a Saturday to help clear the brush from the Canfield Island site (May 3, 2003)

Lycoming College students (North American Archaeology) and Professor Robin Van Auken conducted a May 2003 field school on Canfield Island assisting the Lycoming County Historical Society and the Archaeological Chapter in excavating a series of 12 excavation units.

The site, cleared of brush, is raked free of loose roots and signs are posted to inform visitors of the archaeological excavation (May 3, 2003)

Lycoming College students Lee Z., Katy G. and Rebecca J.
lay out the grid for their excavation units (May 10, 2003)

Religion Professor Robin Knauth of Lycoming College visits the dig and can't resist picking up a shovel and joining the fun (May 10, 2003)

Lycoming College archaeology students meet for class for a lecture before heading out to Canfield Island (May 11, 2003).

Lycoming College students and historical society volunteers
dig on a rainy Tuesday evening (May 13, 2003).

Andy L. takes soil samples from CISE02 while Lyco students
work in their excavation units (May 23, 2003).

One of the few days it didn't rain (May 23, 2003).

Lee Z., Robin K. and Sean R. check the depth
of an artifact in CISE16(May 23, 2003).

Lee Z. keeps up with the paper work (May 23, 2003).

Jim Bressler begins a new unit and at 56" below datum finds
a dark stain (feature) in the corner (May 27, 2003).