So it began as a curiousity, perhaps...a local site never explored by yours truly. I have always heard about the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter but never
visited the site or took the time to research it like I should have. I have always wondered how people travelled around this area, and why we aren't
taught too much about the history in school. I never actually did any research of this site, even though I live not far from it...
Until now. Here's my brief explanation of what I urge many of you to visit.
I recently went on a trip there with my dad just to see what all the hype was about. I mean, it's not everyday you get to journey into the past, right
in your neck-of-the-woods! We are talking about a site that has the history of human habitation from 16,000 years ago! That's way before any
schoolbook would have you believe...I was excited to say the least and we had an excellent day to walk around the park. I am including some pictures
as a guide, but trust me, like all visitations, the pictures do the park NO justice.
This site is immense. The park itself is setup like a walking history tour. I will try to guide you along just a few of the interesting sites I walked
through, to give the reader an idea on how fascinating this place is.
(if you are a history buff like myself you would love it)
Now, the majority of my time was spent at the Native village so that's where I am focusing this thread. There are plenty of other exhibits at this
place that show the Settlers life from the 1700-1800's and even a reconstructed village from that era. But you'll just have to make a trip to see it
for yourself...I can't spoil everything!
First, we get to the park and enter the Native American Village. It is a reconstructed view of what the local natives would've lived like around the
years 1400-1600. A basic village consisted of a wig-wam, and a surrounding fence of trees, inter-woven with branches to provide defense and shelter
from the elements and animals alike. An extremely well presented representation.
Here is the entrance to the Native Village and you can see how they tried to replicate the fence used around that time with pine branches as cover:
Here are a few pictures of the tools the natives used at the time. A flint-knapped knife and a few arrows that were constructed with the same
materials used then. Also, the animal furs they used at the time.
The hunting shelters that would've been used for the months hunted away from camp.
This is the wig-wam setup to look as though it was still in use...
This is the only pic of my ugly butt in this entire trip but I'm standing inside the wig-wam. These structures housed 12-15 people at a time, and it
seemed to be quite roomy.
Here is the Atl-Atl
exhibit which you could actually use their Atl-Atl and try to hit the target. I
honestly spent the better half of an hour there just throwing darts. I am definitely building an Atl-Atl as soon as possible!
So, now for the Rockshelter
This site is extremely fascinating for a great deal of people as it shows the travels of humans that span 16,000 years around this area. It's one of
the oldest sites in North America, proving that we don't know exactly how long this continent was inhabited. You can do more research at this link:
. It will give you a more in-depth reading of the sites history and story
behind how it was discovered (and hidden from looters) before being excavated. The last major excavation ended in 1978 and I believe they have found
all they can find at this site. But it was extremely worth the time to have a great experience at a place that has seen so many different people.
This is a picture of the outside structure built to house the excavation site. The Rock outcropping is extremely massive and these pictures show no
real scale. It is huge.
Here's a picture of the site itself, showing all the tags used from the last excavation. They mark all the different layers of substrate found and
even how many different fire pits (350+ I believe) It's amazing to realize how many people stopped at this site just to get out of the weather and
build a fire, eat food and just rest before continuing on their journey. The tour guide said that 10,000's of bones have been found there. Even old
broken rum jars from settlers in the 1700's that were knapped into arrowheads. Imagine the stories told over the campfires in that place.
Here are a few more pictures of the site showing its huge size and excavation detail.
Looking down from the top entrance:
And another picture:
To sum things up, if you are interested in History and you live in the Tri-state (OH, WV, PA) area, I highly recommend making a trip to see this
national treasure. It's located in the little town of Avella, PA. There is just way too much information to post here on this forum and the entire
exhibit is a great place. The staff are all extremely knowledgable and good people. I enjoyed my trip immensely and would definitely do it again, as I
didn't even get to see all of it. All in all, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter is an experience that will remain with me for my lifetime. (and I will
definitely re-visit again)
edit on 15-10-2012 by havok because: you can't align center pictures apparently....