Sunday, February 19, 2012


Donald A. Windsor

Cole, John R. ; Godfrey, Laurie R., Editors.
Archaeology and Geochronology of the Susquehanna and Schoharie Regions.
Proceedings of the Yager Conference at Hartwick College
November 6, 1976.

Oneonta, NY: Hartwick College. 1977. 146 pages.

Thirty-five years after a book is published is a long delay for a book review, but I just read this one.  It was hard to stop, because this book contains some very useful information, including drawings, of the geological features of the area just east and south of Chenango County.

The chapter on the deglacial chronology of the Oneonta area by P. Jay Fleisher is terrific.  Doctor Fleisher gave our chapter an eye-opening presentation on this subject about six or so years ago.

The archaeology is covered from the earliest Paleo times into our historical period.

Of special note is the chapter on the Otsiningo site by Dolores Elliott.  Drive to Binghamton and you go right by it.  Here is a good opportunity to read about its prehistoric inhabitants.

The highlights of the book are the spirited discussions after each chapter.  My favorite exchange occurs on page 137.  Joseph P. Timlin, defending his eponymous site, claims that "The stratigraphic records are right in front of you out there".  William A. Starna responds "No, they have to be on paper.  This is archaeology, not show and tell.  Archaeology is not simply what you see or what you get down on your hands and knees to look at.  That is antiquarianism; that is not archaeology.  Archaeology happens to be a very well structured discipline with a number of tenets and precepts and theoretical structures and formulae.  These claims have to be verified or falsified like any other claims in science."

Well said, Doctor Starna!

And thank you, David Moyer, for bringing this book to our February 11 meeting.