Muncy native collects artifacts on early American natives
MUNCY – “Archaeology is systematic destruction!” These profound words are from noted historian and archaeologist Gary Fogelman of Muncy. The former phys ed teacher said he spent most of his boyhood wandering off to look for arrowheads and Native American artifacts.
” I didn’t want to do anything else,” he said of his younger years growing up in Muncy at the age of 12 and 13. Fogelman was on hand during the public archaeology dig in early June at the newly established Fort John Brady Park in the Muncy Borough and the former homestead of Captain John Brady who fought in the Revolutionary War. Fogelman was demonstrating the art of flint knapping to the descendants of John Brady who were visiting Muncy that day and participated in the public archaeology dig.
Flint knapping is a very old skill using stone tools to make arrowheads out of raw flint. “It is a survival technique used in the wilderness,” he explained as he held up one of his authentic collections to the group. The art goes back 13,000 years ago when early man used spears made with fluted points from flint.
Fogleman shared pre- and post-contact Native American artifacts from the general vicinity of the Brady site. He also demonstrated how to turn raw flint into arrowheads. Reflecting back to when his uncle first gave him a dozen arrowheads, Fogelman said he would spend hours over the years hunting for them along the banks of Muncy Creek. “I now have about ten to 15 thousand of them,” he said. The Muncy 1967 graduate said he found most of them in the Muncy Hills near Exchange.
His goal is to document as much as possible of “these rare finds” and to keep them responsibly and not “hoard them, but recover and save them.” All sites are registered at a state registry kept in Harrisburg for reference purposes. “We have recorded over 50 sites so far,” he said.
Many of his artifact collections are on display and Fogelman says he attends about five or six shows a year. He has written and published a series of books on “Artifacts and Early Cultures on the Susquehanna’s West Branch” using photographs of some of his oldest collections. “Collecting artifacts has always been my passion,” added Fogelman and with the help of his wife, Joann, they published the Indian artifact magazines from 1982 up until 2016. The couple, now retired, have also contributed to the Roadside Geology of Pennsylvania.