Saturday, December 19, 2009

December meeting.

President Dave Johnson opened the last meeting of 2009 with reports of recent Chapter activities;
A hearty round of applause acknowledged Chuck Tudor's chairmanship of the Annual Diner in November. A most enjoyable and memorable night, Thank you Chuck!

Steph reported on the first visit to a new site along the former banks of the Wallkill River, which looks very promising.

Ray Decker reported on our finances and began distributing the latest edition of our "Occasional Papers" - #3. Available in printed form or as a cd. Every member in good standing as of this meeting is entitled to one copy, with additional copies available at $10 each. They will be distributed at the next couple meetings, or you can pick up your copy at Clif Patrick's insurance office at 119 Rte. 17M, in Chester. For directions, email:

In place of our scheduled program which had been cancelled, President Dave, setup a Christmas lottery. The deal being that the number one ticker holder picked from a table of wrapped gifts. Subsequent people had their choice of previously picked items or from the table.

First up was Richard, who unwrapped a magnificent piece of petrified wood from Mongolia. Naturally, that being a very desirable gift, it changed hands many times during the evening!

Drawing ticket number two was Dave, who, true to form, went for the strangestly wrapped item on table. It was a wonderfully made atlatl, hand crafted by Gary!  Well, there began a fantastic journey, only a little bit of which is documented below:

Angela enthusiastically made off with it when her number came up!

A very determined Sharon reluctantly surrendered it to Walt.

A few turns later, she recovered it from its hiding place as Walt, so forlorn, looks on.

Chuck, then liberated it from Sharon.

Bob looked so happy as he took possession!

Fred said that he'll like to hold on to it for a few minutes.

Chuck and Bob went back and forth before Priscilla took it away from them.

June, who had been quiet as the Christmas mouse, had the last ticket and brought the atlatl back to her table.

The first to go is also the last to go, so Richard tracked down Teri and took home that piece of petrified wood after all.

As Dave tried to wrap things up, June marched him over and, as is her nature, generously presented the atlatl to him, thus closing the meeting to the relief of our bellies, aching from all the laughter!
Ho! Ho! Ho!
And to all a good night!
Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

History’s Mysteries The Griffin Report

"James (Jimmy) B. Griffin is a well known name in America's 20th century archaeology. However, you will have to look pretty far to read about what did in the summer of 1931 as a graduate with a master's degree in Sociology and Anthropology.…"

The Griffin Report

by Deb Twigg and Dick Cowles

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
6:30pm – 7:30pm
At SRAC, 345 Broad St, Waverly, NY
More info at: 
SRAC "River, Rocks, and Time"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Call for Papers: The Conference on New York State History

Individual paper abstracts, panel proposals, workshop plans, and other program suggestions are invited for the 2010 conference to be held in the Ithaca area. Presentations may consider any aspect of the history of New York State over the past 400 years. Diverse theoretical perspectives and innovative methodological approaches are welcomed. 

What is the Conference? 
The Conference on New York State History is an annual meeting of academic and public historians, librarians and archivists, educators, publishers, and other interested individuals who come together to discuss topics and issues related to the people of New York State in historical perspective and to share information and ideas regarding historical research, programming, and the networking of resources and services. Ten to fifteen presentation sessions, workshops, and a keynote address permit more than fifty individuals to take part in the formal program. 

Special consideration is accorded first-time presenters, graduate students, and local government historians. The conference is self-sustaining and is organized by a committee of historians from a variety of institutions across the state. 
Interested parties are encouraged to discuss proposals and any conference-related ideas with Field Horne, conference chair (e-mail preferred). The Program Committee will meet to consider proposals in mid-January. Applicants will be notified immediately thereafter. 

What to submit: 
All proposals must be received by December 31, 2009 at 5:00 PM. If at all possible, submit an MS Word document by e-mail to A proposal should be a one-page description of each presentation—not the full manuscript—and must include the following information at the top of the page: paper and/or session titles, names, postal addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of all participants, and all equipment needs and scheduling requests. It should also briefly discuss sources, methodology, and argument. 
All program participants are required to register for the conference. 

Commentators sought: 
Qualified commentators for sessions are needed. Please indicate your willingness, with your areas of expertise, in an e-mail to the conference chair.

How to submit: 
Send proposals to:
Field Horne, Conference Chair
Conference on NYS History
Box 215
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866¬0215

(518) 587-4962
Sponsored by the Archives Partnership Trust, New York State Historical Association and funded by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Friday, December 4, 2009

THE ARCHAEOLOGIST excerpts from Vol. 12, December 18, 2009

** Meeting Notice: The December meeting will be held on Friday the 18th, at 7:30 P.M. It will be a Christmas party.

President’s Message:  

            Once again I have to start out congratulating Chuck Tudor for a job well done. Fifty-three members attended the annual dinner at the Fountains. The food, atmosphere and speaker were great and several people commented on how they enjoyed the evening. 
(See prior post)

            We are going to try something different at the December meeting. Have some fun with a grab-bag. Here are the rules:

  1. You can attend the meeting and not participate in the grab-bag.
  2. Anyone who wishes to participate in the grab-bag needs to contribute a gift.
  3. Although archaeological themes are welcome other gift ideas are also acceptable such as baked items. In other words simply use your imagination.
  4. We are suggesting the value of the gift be up to $10.
  5. All gifts need to be wrapped and identified as to gender specific if needed.
  6. All participants draw a number.
  7. Number 1 goes first followed by consecutive numbers.
  8. Upon taking a gift it needs to be opened and shown to the group.
  9. Following number 1 each of the other participants can either take a gift from the table or from one of the other participants with a lower number. 
  10. If your gift is taken you go back to the table and pick another gift.
  11. The last person can pick the remaining gift on the table or from anyone else.
  12. All participants are encouraged to take a gift from another person if they like that gift. This is what makes it more interesting. So don’t be bashful.

***        If anyone is interested in bringing something for a Christmas refreshment table please let David and Priscilla Johnson know in advance.

Proposed schedule:
December – Christmas Party with grab-bag
January – Stone formations – Glenn Kreisberg
February – Historic archaeology – Stephanie Tice
March - Flintlocks of the French and Indian War through the Revolution

            I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events.


NEW SITE – Goshen

            On Sunday, November 15, 2009 around 15 members met at the Goshen site. Stephanie, our field chairperson, organized a preliminary survey along 100 ft consisting of 10 shovel holes to determine where there might be a pre-historic site. We found fire cracked rocks, scrapers, and a point which appears to be archaic. Flint / chert chips were located in nearly every pit. Based on this preliminary survey we all agreed it is worth continuing with a broader and more detailed excavation of this site. We will continue at the site in the spring.

            With all the activities going on this fall we somehow omitted the election of one of the trustees. The trusteeship currently held by Gary Keeton is up for election this year. The nominating committee endorses his nomination. We will accept additional nominations at the next meeting.


            We received the following notice from the State. This is an annual award and it is possible someone within our chapter or associated with it could qualify.

*****     AWARD OF $ 500    *****
***** A year’s membership in NYSAA******

Administered by the



                  (financial aid verification form from college)




APPLICATION FOR THIS AWARD MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN the last day of FEBRUARY.  It is advised materials be sent earlier in the event the committee has questions.  All materials are to be sent to Dr. Ellis McDowell-Loudan at the following address.

BOX 502
McGRAW, NY 13101

A committee composed of professional and avocational members of the Beauchamp Chapter will review the applications in March and select the award recipient.



Long time member and Chapter Trustee Mead Stapler passed away recently. He was a prolific author in the field of events leading to the War of the Revolution and he held the prestigious Certificate of Merit Award from the NYSAA.


*** If anyone has any archaeology magazines or others related to this topic and would like to share them with other members please bring them in.


*** Forum:   Members are encouraged to send in items for the next newsletter. 

The full version of "THE ARCHAEOLOGIST" Vol. 12, December 18, 2009 has been distributed to all Chapter members in good standing.  If you have not received your copy, please let us know.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chapter Annual Dinner 2009

With a slideshow of this year's photos playing in the background, Vice President Chuck Tudor, who organized, not only tonight's Annual Dinner, but also last month's most successful Symposium, formally opened the festivities.

President Dave Johnson blessed the over fifty attendees  with a few words of wisdom, observations on the state of the IOCCNYSAA and announced that our Occasional Papers #3 will be distributed at the December meeting.

2009 "Order of the Trowel" inductees:
Fred Assmus
Curtis Higgins
Gary Keeton 
Brian Manning
Walter McGrath
Joseph Mlcoch
Ginny Privitar
Susan Roth.

June Simpson was presented the "Meritorious Service Award" for her many years of gentle but persistent advocacy of the advancement of archaeology, plus aviation and local history.

Dave proudly talked about Gary Jay Sipila's many contributions: organizing and teaching flint napping sessions and, of course, atlatl demonstrations at our meetings and public events in formally conferring the Chapter's 2009 "Most Active Member Award."

A hearty round of applause erupted when Dori Alius and Lester Lain where acknowledged.

With everyone thinking Dave had finished handing out honors, he snuck up behind Ray Decker, reciting his dedication to Orange County paleontology, archaeology, history, and the advancement of our Chapter since shortly after its founding. He then presented a special Presidential Citation which included a dinner with Dave & Priscilla at the prestigious Mohonk Mountain House to Ray.  

Dave then asked Ray to introduce Robert S. Feranec, Ph.D., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the New York State Museum in Albany who gave a very interesting talk about relationships climate, chemistry, and botany with the rise and fall of micro- and megafauna. He also brought us up to date on the investigation of the "Tunkamoose Mastodon Tusks" which were recovered for the banks of the Wallkill River this summer.

Robert S. Feranec, Ph.D., following in the long tradition of David Steadman, Phd., and Herbert Kraft, Phd., along with Edward Lenik as foremost professionals, is now a member of our chapter. Welcome Bob!

Please send an email, if I missed anything.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First visit: New site! - 2009-11-15

A good turnout (left) for this initial exploratory site survey by shovel test pits which unearthed promising results. A single, but complete Bare Island point was found by sharp-eyed Frank Mappes. Dig Chair, Stephanie Tice, screening a load with Gary, carefully assisting (right). Check with Steph at upcoming meetings for future dig schedules.

 Below, our newest member, Maggie, a Fordam archeaology student, dug right in. Welcome Maggie!

Iona Island expedition - Sunday, 2009-11-15

Ed L., Nancy, Leslie & Clif joined new Park Superintend Lisa and nearly a hundred other folks on a hike around Iona Island led by Doc Bayne. From rock shelters, to Dutch colonial ruins,  to ammunition bunkers, to the Brooklyn Bridge granite quarry, to currently used buildings, it was an extensive exploration of past and current uses of both Iona and Round Islands.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

2009 Chapter Annual Dinner

The Tunkamoose Mastodon Tusks

The Incorporated Orange County Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association's 2009 annual dinner to be held at The Fountains, 40 Sands Road, Middletown, NY 10940. The dinner will be catered by the world famous Eagle's Nest Restaurant, Bloomingburg, New York on Sunday November 22th, 2007 at 6:00. [Click here for Reservation Form]

Our featured speaker will be Robert Ferenac, Phd., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the NYS Museum.

He will discuss the discovery, preparations and excavation of the Tunkamoose Mastodon Tusks from the banks of the Wallkill River last July, report on their conservation and present the latest findings from the New York State Museum’s analysis.

Robert Feranec, Curator of Pleistocene Vertebrate Paleontology, New York State Museum

Dr. Robert Feranec

with the Tunkamoose Mastodon Tusks, the Wallkill River flowing by in the background. (Photo by Mary Egan)

While my interests encompass a broad scope of topics including influences on biogeography, causes of speciation and adaptive radiation, and triggers of extinction, my research has been focused at describing the evolution of ecology in mammals. My research concentrates on examining ecology in mammals from short time scales (seasons) to very long time scales (millions of years).

In order to understand ecology of fossil mammals, the modern quantitative and analytical techniques I employ include stable isotope geochemistry, utilization of bioinformatics databases, and computer-based imaging of fossils which permits quantitative analysis of various morphological features. Fieldwork is also an important aspect of my research program, and I have conducted or participated in excavations in the U.S. and Spain.

Typical questions addressed in my research include:

  1. How does climate change effect ecology?
  2. Does ecology change during development?
  3. Does immigration/dispersal of new species affect ecology?
  4. Does extinction/extirpation of species affect ecology?

I am interested and open to collaboration within and beyond North America. Potential collaborators, including current or potential graduate students, are encouraged to email me.

Above biographical material from

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009-10-31 Centuries of Orange County Archaeology symposium

Valley Central Middle School in Montgomery, NY graciously made their cafeteria available for our second annual symposium.

Eric checks out one of Ed Lenik's books.

Rich Van Sickle displays the nearly-complete elk-moose skeleton which he discovered in 2007.

Ray was all business: "I don't what you say, I'm not looking up for the camera."

The crowd ebbed and flowed all day, checking out the wide variety of local material on display.

Times Herald-Record reporter interviewing Symposium Chairman, Chuck.

Gary and Joe enthralled many with their napping skills.

City of Newburgh Historian, Mary McTammany, checking out Kevin's extensive inventory.

Gary & Glen Keeton examine an attendee's fossil.

Fred discusses his pottery collection.

Prof. Barry Kass kicked off the afternoon's program with a talk on the northeast's premier archeological site: Dutchess Quarry Caves.

Gregg, from the Museum of Natural History discusses mastodons with Joe Devine.

Bravo to Chuck Tudor for organizing and mc'ing today's most enjoyable symposium!


President’s Message (added 11/7/2009):

I want to thank Chuck Tudor for chairing the October symposium as well as all the chapter members who helped make it a wonderful event. I hope that we will continue this event next year.


The 23rd Annual Highlands Conference was very interesting and was attended by several of our chapter members.

We are planning to conduct a preliminary survey of an archaeological site before the snow flies. Stephanie has provided information below regarding the site. This site should produce prehistoric as well as historic artifacts. If you want to learn how to lay out a site and dig for artifacts this is your opportunity.

At this point in time we have the following programs scheduled for the next few meetings:

November – annual dinner - Robert Ferenac

December – Flintlocks of the French and Indian War through the Revolution

January – stone formations – Glenn Kreisberg

February – historic archaeology – Stephanie Tice

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

23th Annual Highlands Conference - Saturday, October 24, 2009

at Lautenburg Visitor Center, Sterling Forest State Park

115 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY

Hosted by the Archaeological Society of New Jersey, North Jersey Highlands Historical Society and our Chapter

Included in the “Prehistoric Pottery from the Region” exhibit were items for both Fred Assmus and Ray Decker’s collections.

For the morning session, Thomas Fitzpatrick lead a hike to the Augusta Mine site and miners' cabin ruins which ended just as the heavy rains started to fall.

Chapter members, Gary and Glen Keeton, kicked off the afternoon program with “The Discovery and Excavation of a Mastodon from the Bank of the Wallkill River, Orange County, NY.”

A half dozen speakers followed:

  • “Understanding Rockshelters.” by R. Michael Stewart;
  • “Cultural Ecology on a Need to Know Basis.” by Roger Moeller;
  • “Pompotowwut-Muhheakanneau. Part 1: the Pomptons (Pumptons)” by IOCCNYSAA member, Kate S. Ahmadi;
  • “James Alexander's Journey to the Upper Delaware, 1718.” by Rich Walling;
  • “Forging Ahead in the Somerset Hills; Archaeological Documentation of an 18th Century Bloomery Forge in Bernardsville, NJ.” by Richard Veit;
  • And closing with “Views from High Point” by Myra Snook.

Today’s conference was expertly organized by Edward J. Lenik, IOCCNYSAA, ASNJ and NJHHS.

Carol Johnson, Ph.D., NJHHS, mc’d the affair with flair.

Thanks to Ray Decker, with assistance from Kevin Storms & the Johnsons for manning the Chapter's table. And to Fred & Sharon Assmus as well as Ray Decker (again) for bringing pottery items for the exhibit.

And special thanks to Doc Bayne, Sterlng Forest State Park Education Ranger for his hospitally and for making this wonderful facility available!