COLLECTIONS: ARCHAEOLOGY


ABOUT THE CURATORS

Kurt Carr , Senior Curator

AT THE MUSEUM
Archaeology is the scientific study of past cultures and it is an exciting process of investigation and discover. I have had the opportunity to investigate how people lived thousands of years ago and many times I have been the first person to touch the only remnants left to tell the story. On a broader level, I have been able to examine how cultures have changed and, more importantly, why cultures have changed over thousands of years in Pennsylvania’s prehistory. Ultimately, I believe this will be helpful in understanding how our own culture will change in the future. This is the amazing contribution of archaeology! My work has allowed me to contribute to the preservation of Pennsylvania’s heritage and vast archaeological past; work I have been privileged to do in Pennsylvania for the past 28 years.

CURRENT PROJECTS
I started my career with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1980 as a review archeologist with the Bureau for Historic Preservation and served as the Chief of the Division of Archaeology and Protection between 1988 and 2005. I joined the State Museum of Pennsylvania in 2007 as the Senior Curator of Archaeology. Our primary mission is the management of the artifacts but we are also charged with developing a variety of public outreach programs including major exhibits in the State Museum gallery. Field research is conducted annually and current projects include work at Fort Hunter, a French and Indian War site located just north of Harrisburg and investigating a Paleoindian site dating between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago in Dauphin County. Most of my research has been conducted in Pennsylvania but I have also worked in Virginia, West Virginia, Italy, and the Republic of the Ukraine. My research interest include early hunting and gathering cultures, stone tool technology, settlement pattern analysis, geomorphology and environmental reconstructions. I enjoy working with students and I also teach anthropology and archaeology (as an Adjunct Professor) at Harrisburg Area Community College.

The Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania provides a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania archaeology and cultural history from the Paleoindian Period through the 19th century. You’ll see exhibits on archaeological laboratory and field methods, prehistoric technology, prehistoric and historic archaeology, excavations conducted by the PHMC, dioramas depicting prehistoric life ways in Pennsylvania, and a reconstructed Delaware Indian Village. The State Museum of PA offers a variety of educational, research, and historic preservation opportunities for everyone. The PHMC’s archaeology website, www.PaArchaeologystate.pa.us, facilitates research, educates, and informs everyone about Pennsylvania archaeology. Students, teachers, and avocational archaeologists can find popular summaries, curricula, resources, distance learning, and a video tour of the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Professional archaeologists can view report abstracts, watershed syntheses, and PHMC guidelines, policies, and forms as well as summaries of reports and new research being conducted around the state. The site also lists staff that can respond to your specific interests.

EDUCATION
BA, Franklin and Marshall College, 1971
PhD, Catholic University of America, 1992

CONTACT KURT CARR
kcarr@state.pa.us

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Janet Johnson, Curator

AT THE MUSEUM
Archaeology Section collections are utilized by academic and individual researchers on a regular basis.  We encourage study of these artifacts and, to that end, I assist in culling out artifacts necessary for various research projects. Other activities involve the submission of collections from compliance archaeology projects, processing loan requests and documentation associated with selected artifacts, and answering public inquiries about archaeology and our collections. Volunteers, under my supervision, assist in revisiting older collections and documentation, which require attention due to changes in curatorial practices. 

CURRENT PROJECTS
The Section of Archaeology strives to curate collections for preservation and future access by the public either through research or exhibit. With that mission in mind, answering research request and inquiries dictates most of my work schedule.  Around these tasks I have also been working on recently donated collections from private individuals. The largest of these collections is the David Warner collection principally collected during excavations while a member of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Forks of the Delaware, Chapter12. This collection provides important research material from sites along the Upper Delaware in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Additional collections recently donated to the museum include artifacts recovered by a private collector in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. This collection includes materials from investigations at the Mcfate Site, an important Monongahela Village site previously investigated by the Works Progress Administration. Both of these donations contribute to our understanding of prehistoric cultures and their life ways. Additionally, interns have researched, identified, and rehoused archaeological coins from our collections into archivally stable containers important in insuring long-term curation. I continue to work with institutions in providing public programming upon request.

EDUCATION
BA, Mansfield State University, 1979

PUBLICATIONS
McConaughy, Mark A. and Janet R. Johnson
2003 Sugar Run Mound (36Wa359) and Village (36Wa2): Hopewell/Middle Woodland in Warren County, Pennsylvania.  In Foragers and Farmers of the Early and Middle Woodland Periods in Pennsylvania, edited by Paul A. Raber and Verna L. Cowin, pp. 101-116.  Recent Research in Pennsylvania Archaeology, No.3, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA.

Kent, Barry C., Janet Rice, and Kakuko Ota
1981 A map of 18th century Indian towns in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 51(4):1-18

CONTACT JANET JOHNSON
janjohnson@state.pa.us

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David J. Burke, Curatorial Assistant

AT THE MUSEUM
In addition to maintaining collections and records of the Archaeology Section, my responsibilities include auditing compliance archaeology collections to ensure they meet long-term curation standards. Occasionally I work with donated private collections to determine if artifacts can be attributed to previously recorded sites or, alternatively, represent new site locations. These varied tasks and others make working in the Section of Archaeology a refreshing and rewarding experience.

CURRENT PROJECTS
I am currently assisting with the audit of a large archaeological compliance collection recovered from several counties in the center of the state. The research was conducted prior to highway bridge replacement and expansion. 

EDUCATION
B.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1999

CONTACT DAVID BURKE
davburke@state.pa.us

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Elizabeth Wagner, Curatorial Assistant

AT THE MUSEUM
I assist with management of the Commonwealth’s archaeological collections.  This task includes auditing, processing, and housing collections. The Archaeology Section is the central repository for archaeological collections in the state of Pennsylvania, and a great deal of maintenance is required to ensure that collections are accessible to future researchers. I also maintain the Museum’s archaeology gallery and Section library, assist researchers, and monitor climatic conditions in artifact storage areas.

CURRENT PROJECTS
I am currently assisting with the audit of a large archaeological compliance collection recovered from several counties in the center of the state. The research was conducted prior to highway bridge replacement and expansion. 

EDUCATION
B.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1996

PUBLICATIONS
2003 The Wise Cabin: A Regional Perspective. In A Gap in Time: Context, Archaeological Inventory, and Management Recommendations for the Fox Gap Section of The South Mountain Battlefield, edited by Joe Baker. IUP Archaeological Services

CONTACT ELIZABETH WAGNER
elwagner@state.pa.us

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