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.
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.