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Students in Lisa Ferry’s Anthropology class took a field trip on April 26 to the Conrail Site (officially referred to as 36LU169) to join The Frances Dorrance Chapter (Chapter 11) of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for an archeological dig.

The Frances Dorrance Chapter has been excavating the site, which is located at the Coxton Rail Yards in Duryea half of a mile from where the Lackawanna River flows into the Susquehanna River at the entrance to the Wyoming Valley, since 1990. It runs site excavations every Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. beginning in early spring and concluding in late fall. The chapter focuses on a section known as Campbell’s Ledge, which lies 37 feet above the river channel and 100 feet from the shoreline.

Everyone from prehistoric families to early canal workers and railroaders made this site their home. The Frances Dorrance Chapter has excavated 170 square meters of the site since it began operations 25 years ago. Scientists believe Site 36LU169 was formed about 14,000 B.C. when prehistoric people first moved into the area. The relatively undisturbed soil has built up over centuries and the chapter is working to uncover any articles left by the people that lived there that have been locked into place.

Dateable artifacts have been recovered that span from 8025 B.C. to 360 A.D. The site has produced valuable information and items, including stone tools and plant remains, which provide more information about the prehistoric and historic times of Pennsylvania and the sequence of human activity in the area.

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