North Fork Chapter 29 Excavation
Port Barnett Rockshelter 26Je55
In the fall of 2016, members of the North Fork Chapter 29 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology conducted a controlled excavation of the Port Barnett Rockshelter within the park under the direction of Ken Burkett and Tom Glover.
Most of the chipped stone tools recovered during the excavation are projectile points (arrowheads or knives) made of Onodaga chert found in the glacial outwash sediments of the Allegheny River. By comparing the points, we learned that people began visiting here at least 5,300 years ago. Other items found include a finely crafted small stone bead and a preform for a large tubular-shaped smoking pipe that was broken and discarded prior to the smoking chamber being drilled and finished. Historic artifacts also include square cut nails, bullets and shell casings, glass and ceramic sherd, and pop tabs from the 60s and 70s. The presence of prehistoric pottery fragments indicates that entire families sometimes stayed here.