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Posts tagged "pennsylvania"

The first car to go off the rails held the elephants.

The tigers, lions, horses, crocodiles, pythons and a gorilla known as the “Man-Slayer” followed as the Walter L. Main circus train careened off the tracks down a 30-foot-high (10 meters) embankment, with gold-gilt, steel-barred wagons crashing one on top of the other in the legendary pileup at Tyrone, a small town in central Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day 1893.

Today, the story has become ingrained in town lore. Big snakes are eyed with suspicion as possible descendants of escaped crash survivors. Elephants from other traveling circuses have stopped in Tyrone to lay wreaths out of respect for the dead. Bones, horseshoes, lion-cage locks and railroad spikes have turned up every time a new home is built on the site. But the exact location of the mass grave of dead circus animals has been lost to history. Researchers recently made an attempt to find it. Read more.

A fluke rainstorm at an ancient rock shelter in western Pennsylvania has brought a renowned archaeologist back to the site of where a furious debate was launched in 1973 over when the first humans came to the Americas.

As a young archaeologist, Jim Adovasio found radiocarbon evidence that humans had visited the Meadowcroft site 16,000 years ago. To archaeologists it was a stunning discovery that contradicted the so-called Clovis first theory, which dated the first settlement in the Americas to New Mexico about 13,000 years ago.

The question is important because it ties into bigger questions on how and why so many different cultures developed in the Americas, and whether they all descended from one group that came across from Asia or arrived in multiple waves. Read more.

YORK, Pa. (AP) — The mud of a south-central Pennsylvania cornfield may soon produce answers about the fate of British prisoners of war — and the newly independent Americans who guarded them — during the waning years of the American Revolution.

A few miles east of York, the city that briefly served as the fledgling nation’s capital after the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, more than a thousand English, Scottish and Canadian soldiers were imprisoned at what was then known as Camp Security.

The fight to preserve the plot where those soldiers and their captors worked and lived has lasted almost twice as long as the Revolutionary War itself. And the end is in sight — if its backers can raise the last few hundred thousand dollars needed to pay for it. Read more.

Archaeologists in Pennsylvania say they’re worried that important pieces of history could be lost as the state’s booming natural gas industry builds roads, impoundments, pipelines and well sites.

Marc Henshaw, president of the Mon-Yough Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, told the Observer-Reporter newspaper of Washingon, Pa.,  that he has yet to receive a call from a company that extracts natural gas.

Carl Maurer, the archaeology society chapter’s vice president, said the knowledge and motivation to learn more could be gone forever if sites are destroyed.

"In 50 years, students may want access to something, and it won’t be there," he said. "We don’t even know what we’re losing."

However, industry officials say that they already employ archaeologists. Read more.

For over 3,000 years, hunter gatherers plied eastern Pennsylvania looking for game and edible plants. Along the way, they sought protection from the cold and rain.

Some of these Lenape ancestors found refuge in rock shelters, two of which were discovered in 1947 in the Broomall section of Marple Township, 10 miles west of Philadelphia.

After many years, the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown has acquired the collection of artifacts from the Broomall Rock Shelters and is featuring them in an exhibit, Mystery Unearthed: The Extraordinary Story of Two Lenape Rock Shelters. Read more.

After eight weeks of excavations and countless days spent cleaning artifacts surrounding the historic Dill’s Tavern in Dillsburg, ruins of a summer kitchen dating to the 1790s have been exposed.

Steve Warfel, a project leader for the archaeological dig and retired archaeologist from the State Museum of Pennsylvania, said the ruins were discovered last fall by a group of elementary school children.

Since then, a team of professionals and volunteers have continued exploring the site.

Community members involved with the tavern had high hopes that the exposed foundation belonged to the original Dill’s Tavern that would date to the 1750s. Read more.

The role of amateur archaeologists in Schuylkill County and around Pennsylvania cannot be understated, according to experts in the field.

About 22,000 archeological sites are recorded in Pennsylvania, said Kurt Carr, senior curator with the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg.

"Close to half of those were recorded by amateur archaeologists," he said.

Of those sites, 84 are located in Schuylkill County with some dating back 12,000 years, he said.

In comparison, nearby Berks County has 909 sites.

Carr said the low number of sites in Schuylkill County could be attributed to many reasons, one being a lack of development within the county. Sites that have more farming and road work, for example, are more likely to yield finds, he said. Read more.

Philadelphia — University of Pennsylvania Museum archaeologists working at the renowned ancient site of Tiwanaku in Bolivia site sometimes called the “American Stonehenge” have joined forces with a team of engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists and anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Computer and Information Science, School of Engineering, the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, University of Arkansas, and the Department of Anthropology, University of Denver, to begin a  large-scale, subsurface surveying project using equipment and  techniques that may one day serve as a model for future archaeological efforts worldwide.

Their three-year, collaborative pilot project, made possible through a 1.05 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation, is called “Computing and Retrieving 3D Archaeological Structures from Subsurface Surveying.” It seeks to collect detailed, three-dimensional archaeological structural data from approximately 60 subterranean acres of Tiwanaku—without benefit of the archaeologist’s trowel. Read more.