Anthropology Students Take Overnight Field Trip to Rural-Life Museum

Published 10.24.2008

Student News

From left, Eric Elder, Zachary Adams, Krysta Shaffer, Courtney Vail, Jared George and D. Robert Cooley stand in front of the newly constructed viewing platform that protects the rock ledge overlooking Cross Creek, a tributary to the nearby Ohio River Receiving instruction on the use of the Paleolithic spearthrower Cooley learns how to use a drawknife to shape an ax handle Elder works hard to create a primitive fire-starting tool, spinning one wooden rod fast enough against another piece of wood to create a coal and start a campfire The visit to the Native American village included a demonstration of actual pelts, which would have been used for a variety of purposes, including decorative adornment Students enrolled in Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, taught by D. Robert Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science (who provided the photos) visited the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter and Museum of Rural Life in early October. Archaeological excavations at the rock shelter, near Avella, have revealed substantial evidence that humans have been camping at and utilizing the site continuously since 16,000 years ago approximately 5,000 years earlier than the traditionally accepted understanding of the earliest human occupation of North America. During the extra-credit field trip, five students camped overnight at the facility, tried their hand at replicas of ancient tools and toured a recreated Eastern Woodland Indian community and a 19th-century rural village. Students making the trip were Courtney L. Vail, of State College; Krysta L. Shaffer, of Jersey Shore; Jared M. George, of Annville; Eric R. Elder, of Williamsport; and Zachary S. Adams, of Millerton.