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.