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Open house spotlights research at Coxton Yards site

Last updated: July 14. 2014 2:30AM - 2090 Views
By Ralph Nardone Times Leader Correspondent



Volunteer Yvonne Mould of Dallas, right, describes an early nineteenth-century well unearthed at the Coxton Yards archaeological dig site to Bobby Nardone of West Wyoming at the Frances Dorrance Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology open house on Sunday morning in Duryea.
Volunteer Yvonne Mould of Dallas, right, describes an early nineteenth-century well unearthed at the Coxton Yards archaeological dig site to Bobby Nardone of West Wyoming at the Frances Dorrance Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology open house on Sunday morning in Duryea.
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DURYEA — For more than 20 years history buffs, area history buffs have been digging into the past near Duryea, and Sunday was no exception.


Members of the Frances Dorrance Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology once again poked, broke and sifted the earth at the archaeological dig site in the Coxton Yards on Coxton Road in search of remnants of past civilizations who lived in what is now the greater Pittston area.


About 70 people joined the members of the society during its annual “Archaeology Open House” and tour of the dig site.


The open house is provided for anyone interested in doing a little digging and learning, said Ted Baird, the group’s treasurer.


People visit because they are interested in history or to see if they could be the next discoverer of something old and valuable. Kayakers participating in the Greater Pittston Historical Society’s river tour also stopped by.


“What makes this site a good one is that it has never been disturbed by construction of any kind,” Baird said. “Anything found here is found in its ‘original context,’” he added.


“It’s an ideal archaeological site,” he added.


Although only about an acre in size, the site continues to yield historical gems.


“It’s small but has kept us very busy for over twenty years,” he said.


Soren Schacter, down from the Honesdale area, uncovered a “point” on Sunday — it could have been a head of a spear or just a tool, Baird said.


A point previously found at the site was dated back to 9500 B.C., he said.


There are remnants of ancient Native American cultures as well as early European settlers at that site which makes digging that more interesting, he said.


Someone could find a point from an old Iroquois tribe or tools from Connecticut settlers in an old town located there named Asserughney, he added.


Evidence of an old nut processing facility was uncovered about eight years ago, a building foundation from the early 1800s and pottery probably with Native American roots was found, he said.


The society wants to get local people interested in the rich history of Pittston and all of Northeast Pennsylvania, Baird said. Locally a “lack of awareness” exists especially with the youth who really have no clue about the past.


“We encourage people to do archaeology. They should be willing the get their hands dirty. They may be very surprised at what they find,” he said.


Everything found is recorded and mapped in great detail, Baird emphasized. The group displays them at local events.


“We dig with a purpose,” he said.


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