CATAWISSA, Pa. — Sifting through layer after layer of dirt along the banks of the Susquehanna River, archeologists have uncovered prehistoric Indian remains that offer an extraordinary look at the 700-year evolution of a culture.
The 100-square-foot site is the only one in the eastern United States that has not fallen victim to the area's wet and dry periods, which disintegrate artifacts, said James Adovasio, chairman of the University of Pittsburgh's anthropology department.
"There's a lot of clay and silt here. The geochemistry of this site is perfect for preservation," Adovasio said.
As a result, archeologists have found five layers of habitation--from the years 800 to 1500--each teeming with remnants of a life style and eating habits. Many of the pits excavated were used for either preparing and cooking food or as garbage dumps, Adovasio said.
The Indians who seasonally camped on the river's bank mainly fished and hunted for their food. But they also supplemented their diet with corn starting in about the year 900--the earliest known use of the grain east of the Allegheny Mountains, Adovasio said.