Important Events

Archaeologically speaking - there are specific dates that have had a huge impact on our understanding of Spanish Hill, the Susquehannocks and our Native American prehistoric past. Here is a timeline for you to follow:

1.) In 1878, respected surveyor, historian and Civil War Brigadier General John S. Clark declares Spanish Hill to be the place of "Carantouan" where in 1615, Samuel Champlain sends Etienne Brule to request 500 Susquehannock warriors for a Huron battle with the Onondaga. Clark then surveys the top of Spanish Hill and records the embankments and interior ditch enclosing ten acres there. Read more about General Clark and Carantouan here.
2.) In 1883, while digging a ditch for indoor plumbing to the home of Louise Welles Murray, an ancient graveyard was uncovered. It was excavated from that point for many years to follow. This was the event that actually started the huge interest in our local Native American prehistoric cultures and archaeology - and also the inspiration for Mrs. Murray to go on to found the Tioga Point Museum.

3.) In 1895, The owner like his forebears, long refused to examine the grave at the center of the Murray garden plot but at last had consented to celebrate the formal opening of the (Tioga Point) Historical Museum, and June 27th, 1895, the work was begun.  The circle of stones proved to be over a sepulchre about 3 to 5 feet. Finally, two large flat stones, full of devonian fossils, proved to be the covering to a skeleton of six feet or more in height.

4.) In 1908, Louise Welles Murray's book "Old Tioga Point and Early Athens" was published with an extensive amount of information about the Andaste Indians and Spanish Hill. Hard copies of this book are for sale still at SRAC and the Tioga Point Museum or you can read it online here.
5.) In 1916, an expedition funded by George Heye (Heye Museum founder) and led by Warren K. Moorehead to discover and gain artifacts from cemeteries of the Susquehannocks (Andastes.) It was later called the Susquehanna River Expedition in a book published by Moorehead twenty years later and is seen as the darkest of times for our local archaeology efforts.
 - Read more about this expedition here.
 - Watch the video on this here: 
 - Also: Read news article from this excavation about the Giant Skeletons with Horns here.
~and read the truth about this story here!

6.) In 1921, Louise Welles Murray published two articles for the American Anthropologist describing our archaeology and sites that is still considered to be an important research publication for researchers today.

7.) In 1931, Louise Welles Murray dies unexpectedly. The following commemoration was written in the first pages of "The Selected Manuscripts Of General John S. Clark, (1931)" which was Louise's last great work she completed before her death. "The death of Mrs. Louise Welles Murray on April 22, 1931, just as this monograph, under her editorship, was about to issue from press, removed from the Society of Pennsylvania Archeology, and from the field of Pennsylvania archeology and history generally, one of its most valuable and forceful characters..."

8.) In 1931, a college summer archaeology intern named James Griffin leads a team of local avocational archaeologists to study several sites in our region. Griffin would go on to become a well known archaeologist in his time. His report  from his college days is known as the Griffin Report today and can be reviewed at the Tioga Point Museum in Athens, PA.

9.) In 1933, long time collector and avocational archaeologist and historian Ellsworth Cowles locates a village site below Spanish Hill complete with 16feet high palisade and other important archaeological finds. He publishes a report in the Pennsylvania Archaeologist scientific journal. Cowles also leads a team to revisit many of the sites that were excavated in the 1931 Griffin Report. Cowles will return to do more excavations at Spanish Hill into the 1970's. Read more about this here. ~or~  Read some news articles from the 1933 excavations here.

10.) In 1946 Spanish Hill went up for auction.  Although the Tioga Point Museum and Bradford County HIstorical Society teamed up to raise funds to preserve the hill as a historic site, they were outbid by the Liddiard familiy that would own it up until the mid 1980's. The Liddiards allowed local children to play on the site and because of this many locals have fond childhood memories of playing and looking for treasures on Spanish Hill.

11.) In 1967 during removal of gravel for the use in the construction of the Southern Tier Expressway in Nichols, NY, the largest Susquehannock burial site known to date was uncovered.  It would be excavated over the next two summers. In the end, 135 Native American burials, nearly 600 pit features, and several occupation refuse areas were studied. The site evidently was occupied as early as 2000 BC by Archaic cultures before being controlled by the Susquehannocks in early historic times.

12.) In 1967 Spanish Hill was in jeopardy for use as landfill for the highway. And if it hadn't been for Ellsworth Cowles taking artifacts from the hill to the state archaeologist, the hill actually would no longer exist. As the story goes, the artifacts (including this fully grooved axe shown here) so struck the state archaeologist that work was halted immediately and new plans were made for only taking a small piece of the hill. Read about it here.

13.) In 1972 the Agnes flood ravaged our area and removed topsoil from some areas that revealed ancient sites. One of those sites was the Kennedy Site in Athens Township, PA. This site was excavated for the next two years and revealed a Susquehannock long house and several historic Suquehannock burials which included trade beads and brass spiral ear adornments.

14.) In 1984 State Archaeologist Dr. Barry Kent publishes "Susquehanna's Indians" a book devoted to the study of the Susquehannock Indians and misinterprets references to excavations at Spanish Hill. At the same time, local historian and avocational archaeologist Ted Keir teams up with the local Chamber of Commerce to again try to make Spanish Hill a historic site. As fate would have it, Dr. Kent is the sole decision maker who deems Spanish Hill ineligible to be preserved. Read about it here.

15.) In 2005 - Deb Twigg was published in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Journal on this very information that I have provided here. The following was written by the editor/peer reviewer of the journal:“Given the defensive character of Spanish Hill and reports of fortifications there, it seems a likely candidate as any for the fortified stronghold of Carantouan reported by Brule. Additional archaeological testing at Spanish Hill may one day answer the question of whether or not a Contact Era component exists at the site. Until more information is known, it seems imprudent to eliminate Spanish Hill as a possible site related to the nation of Carantouan, as some researchers have done." (Kent 1984:300-301, McCracken 1984).” PA Archaeologist, Volume 75, 2, Fall 2005.

16.) In 2005 - Deb Twigg, Ted Keir, and Richard Cowles team up as cofounders of the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center with the common beliefs that local collections with provenance are in dire need of preservation and that more extensive research needs to occur by dedicated individuals with a passion for sharing this information and educating our communities about our local Native American prehistoric and historic past. Learn more about SRAC here.