Natural History Society of Maryland
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Natural History Society of Maryland

Octoraro - Susquehannock Fort or Pre-Contact Town, An Archaeological Mystery

  • 18 May 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom


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Researchers know that Susquehannocks did establish multiple settlements in the area, including on Palmer’s Island, even if temporary, for purposes of trade and resource harvesting.  Yet the presence of so many remains actually buried ceremoniously with implements indicates a more permanent situation than merely a battlefield or a fishing camp.  This leaves us the question – was Octorara an interim Susquehannock settlement between John Smith’s voyage and full encroachment of Europeans 30 years later?  Or was this a pre-contact non-Susquehannock town in an oft-used prime location for regional trade – such as Shenk’s Ferry or Clemson Island cultures?  Octoraro, which means Rushing Waters, is located in Cecil County, Maryland. Octoraro Creek is a 22.1-mile-long (35.6 km) tributary of the Susquehanna River, joining it 9 miles (14 km) above the Susquehanna’s mouth at Chesapeake Bay.

Matt Schneider’s bio: Matt is a member of the NHSM Archaeology club who considers himself a novice amateur archaeologist, trained in history in college, with some anthropology background, and currently working as a Clinical Psychotherapist, Social Worker, and Geriatric Specialist.  He is a 2003 graduate of York College and a 2007 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.  He has also completed coursework with Oxford University’s online archaeology program.  He’s participated in several digs over the years including with Fordham University and the University of Virginia.
Natural History Society of Maryland’s Archaeology Club promotes the value of archaeology in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and surrounding areas. The goal of the Archaeology Club is to educate citizenry in the ethics, methods, and artifact preservation methods of archaeology and how archaeology can be used to document, discover, and promote local history. The Archaeology Club is inclusive to all persons who have an interest in archaeology. If you are an archaeology enthusiast, please consider joining us. You must be a member of NHSM to join any of its clubs. Follow this link to learn more:
The Natural History Society of Maryland is a volunteer-led non-profit organization, so the fee you pay will go directly to support the programs, the nature collections, and the building that make this kind of nature education possible.
The Natural History Society of Maryland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and contributions are tax-deductible.

The mission of the Natural History Society of Maryland is to foster stewardship of Maryland’s natural heritage by conserving its natural history collections, educating its citizenry, and inspiring its youth to pursue careers in the natural sciences.

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