Open invitation to the past

June 27th, 2015 1:51 am

First Posted: 9/27/2013

An archaeological dig in the Coxton section of Duryea will be open to the public today.

The Frances Dorrance Chapter 11 of the Pennsylvania Archaeological Society will host an open house to show off what’s happening at the the site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Researchers have uncovered remnants of American Indians who camped along the Susquehanna River thousands of years ago. A group of volunteers, most without formal archaeological training, had been methodically digging to learn about the past and find artifacts that will be housed at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

John Dziak, president of the Greater Pittston Historical Society, said refreshments and food will be provided.

The dig, which has been ongoing since 1991, is in the only spot in the Coxton area that hasn’t been touched in 10,000 years. The rest of the area has been compromised by mining, railroading and other development.

Crews have uncovered fire-cracked stone, a fire pit and “projectiles” — sharp, spear-like objects used for hunting, and an ax-type tool used for splitting bone or wood. Also discovered were net sinkers, nutting stones, a polishing stone and a fire pit with 13 boiling stones. It’s rare to come across wood and bones because the soil in the Susquehanna River area is very acidic.

Carbon dating of pieces has proved the site is 10,000 years old.

The American Indians who inhabited the site of the dig were much different from the American Indians whom students typically learn about in school. Rather than being part of a collective or tribe, these were nomadic family groups that followed the migratory patterns of animals.

The gem of the Coxton digs is a kirk point that would have been on the end of a spear. Carbon testing determined it is from 8,000 B.C.

To get to the site, after going over the bridge in Coxton, turn left onto a dirt road, and keep left until you reach the site which is about a mile in.