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How Do We Know People Used the Meadowcroft Rockshelter 19,000 Years Ago?

  This article will also appear in the Fall 2019 issue of Western Pennsylvania History magazine. The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a world-renowned archaeological site and a National Historic Landmark. It is an ideal campsite protected by a sandstone ledge high above Cross Creek.  Prehistoric people camped there at least 19,000 years ago! But how do…

Top 10 Rockshelter Features

  The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a National Historic Landmark and a remarkable archaeological site which documents the presence of prehistoric people in Western Pennsylvania for at least the last 19,000 years. Here are the top 10 features of the site … drumroll please … Meadowcroft Rockshelter at dusk. Photo by Ed Massery. 10. The Modern…

Q&A with Re-enactor Jeremy Turner

  On Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, the Fort Pitt Museum will commemorate the 240th anniversary of the Delaware Treaty. Negotiations for the treaty took place at Fort Pitt in 1778, resulting in the first-ever treaty between the newly formed United States and an American Indian nation. To commemorate the treaty’s anniversary, the Fort Pitt Museum…

5 Questions with Dr. Adovasio

  In 1973, Dr. James Adovasio and his University of Pittsburgh students conducted an archaeological excavation of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter site on a farm owned by Albert Miller in Avella, Pa. The following year, radiocarbon dating by the Smithsonian concluded the Rockshelter had once served as a campsite for prehistoric hunters and gatherers 16,000 radiocarbon…

The Discovery of the Miller Lanceolate

  Meadowcroft Rockshelter in 1973 prior to excavation. In June 1973, a multidisciplinary team of University of Pittsburgh students and faculty led by Dr. James Adovasio first arrived at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. The team’s intent was to set up an archaeological “field school” to train students in utilizing modern, rigorous investigative techniques across a broad…

Prehistoric Hunting and the Atlatl

  Close up of an atlatl. As the embers begin to die down on a chilly fall evening, you look around the campfire at your extended family group. Everyone has had their fill of the elk meat. You toss the bone aside and begin to drift off to sleep underneath the rock overhang. You dream…

Meadowcroft’s Own Groundhog Day

Albert Miller and Dr. Adovasio at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. Nov. 12 is Meadowcroft’s own Groundhog Day, marking the day that Meadowcroft’s founder, Albert Miller, first peered into prehistory through a groundhog burrow at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. On that fall day in 1955, Albert found some artifacts excavated by the groundhog and decided to enlarge the…