North Fork Chapter 29 Excavation
Port Barnett Rockshelter 36JE55
Chipped stone artifacts and stone bead
Panels installed at the site by the North Fork Chapter 29
Pottery rim sherds with profiles
Tube Pipe Preform.
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 the site under the direction of Ken Burkett and Tom Glover.
Most of the diagnostic chipped stone artifacts recovered during the excavation are projectile points made of Onondaga chert found in the glacial outwash sediments of the Allegheny River or locally available Jefferson County chert. By comparing the points to known and dated typologies, we now know 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.
The presence of prehistoric pottery fragments indicates that entire families sometimes stayed here.
Historic artifacts also include square cut nails, bullets and shell casings, glass and ceramic sherds and pop tabs from the 1960’s and 70’s.
The recovered materials are curated at the Jefferson County History Center, A published report is in the 2017 Jeffersonian Journal.