Current Exhibit

Our new exhibit, History Rocks! Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown, is now open and we invite you to visit us and learn about local prehistoric artifacts and the people who used them. The exhibit is open every Tuesday 1-4pm and the second and fourth Sundays 1-3pm.

From the Collection of Jack Cresson.

From the Collection of Jack Cresson.

What you’ll see at the exhibit:
*A prehistory timeline for the prehistoric artifacts on display
*Madeira site fieldwork photographs
*A glossary of archaeological terms
*Treasures from the Collection of Jack Cresson
*Madeira site prehistoric artifact photographs
*Moorestown Archaeological Sites Map: Jack Cresson Collection & Madeira site.
*Display case of Madeira site prehistoric artifacts
*Display case of Madeira site blocked end tubular pipe fragments and whole blocked end tubular pipes on loan from the New Jersey State Museum
*A metate and a mano artifact from the Historical Society’s collection
*The Bartholomew Sutton Collection of artifacts
*An axe head found in Moorestown in 1940
*Collection of prehistoric artifacts of unknown provenance from the Historical Society’s Collection

Moorestown Archaeological Sites Map: Jack Cresson Collection & Madeira site

Moorestown Archaeological Sites Map: Jack Cresson Collection & Madeira site

Our new exhibit, History Rocks! Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries of Moorestown successfully opened on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at Smith-Cadbury Mansion. The grand opening featured noted local archaeologist Jack Cresson, who, on Smith-Cadbury’s front porch, provided a high-energy, two-hour demonstration to eager onlookers of early Native American toolmaking techniques using a wide array of rock types. Jack Cresson is an influential and much-honored archaeologist who has worked in the field for over 40 years.

Archaeologist Jack Cresson speaks to visitors about prehistoric toolmaking.

Archaeologist Jack Cresson speaks to visitors about prehistoric toolmaking.

Steve Herz watches Jack Cresson in action.

Steve Herz watches Jack Cresson in action.

On opening day, the History Rocks! exhibit filled Smith-Cadbury to bursting with people of all ages who studied selections from Jack Cresson’s collection of Moorestown artifacts, as well as representative items from the hundreds of prehistoric artifacts retrieved in the Madeira I and II digs which took place in Moorestown four years ago. These artifacts, many of which originated in the Early Woodland Period dating back thousands of years, are supplemented by private collections of artifacts generously donated by other individuals, as well as items from the Historical Society’s own collection.

The exhibit familiarizes visitors with New Jersey archaeology through videos, charts, a timeline, maps, illustrations, and photos, not to mention the three-dimensional artifacts themselves. Among the artifacts on display – frequently spectacular and in a variety of colors, sizes, and stages of perfection or erosion – are: beautiful projectile points (some almost pristine), axe heads, pottery fragments, cobble tools, knives, arrowheads, grinding stones, pestles, 6 Adena-like tubular stone pipe fragments and the prized tubular pipes on loan from the New Jersey State Museum. The pipes are connected to the Adena culture, which originated in what is now Ohio during the Early Woodland Period but spread eastward to modern New Jersey and other nearby regions. They are thought to have been used in burial ceremonies to produce smoke as an offering to the spirits. The artifacts are made of, among other materials, jasper, argillite, flint, fire-cracked rock, and quartz.

In addition to the Madeira site, some of the sections of Moorestown that these artifacts were found include the Young Avenue area, Marter Avenue, the Lockheed Martin area, and the Strawbridge Lake area. A large map of Moorestown highlights the sites where most of the items were excavated. History Rocks! will be on display through June 2017.

Admission is free.

Liz Rosenthal

Jack Cresson and Bill Archer on Smith-Cadbury Mansion's porch.

Jack Cresson and Bill Archer on Smith-Cadbury Mansion’s porch.

In conjunction with our new exhibit, Dr. Greg Lattanzi, Curator for the Bureau of Archaeology and Ethnology at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, was the featured speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Historical Society held at the Community House on October 13th. He provided a fascinating overview of the way of life of native peoples and the geological and climatological conditions of pre-historic New Jersey. To read about Dr. Lattanzi’s talk, click here.


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History Rocks: Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown
Our newest exhibit opens Sunday October 16th!

You might know that the Quakers were the first European people to settle Moorestown in the 1680s. And perhaps you know that the Lenni Lenape Nation called this region home prior to European colonization. But, did you know that people groups before the Lenni Lenape travelled throughout New Jersey and made camps here in Moorestown?

We do not know exactly who these people were but an exciting discovery here in Moorestown suggests that the earliest people who travelled here had contact with the Adena people of Ohio. The Adena promoted a culture that was very particular about burial presentation. They constructed large mounds of earth to mark the placement of their dead and buried personal objects within these mounds.

How do we know that the Adena people had a connection with Moorestown? The exciting discovery made here in Moorestown involves an archaeological dig which took place four years ago. The archaeologists found pieces of silt stone pipe fragments indigenous to the Adena people. Why are these fragments here in Moorestown, New Jersey? What significance did these pipes have to the people who owned them? Possibly, the Adena may have traded the silt stone pipes with other people groups or perhaps the Adena themselves may have briefly camped here. In any case, the discovery is an exciting one! In addition to the pipe fragments, this exhibition features artifacts from the prehistoric past discovered throughout Moorestown. We hope this exhibition will help you to imagine the people who lived here through what they left behind.

Dr. Gregory D. Lattanzi, Curator for the Bureau of Archaeology & Ethnology and New Jersey State Archaeologist at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, will speak on this topic at our General Meeting, which is open to the public, on October 13th at 7:30 pm at the Moorestown Community House. Please join us!

Tubular stone pipe fragments found at the Madeira site in Moorestown.

Tubular stone pipe fragments found at the Madeira site in Moorestown.


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