Canfield Island Site

Archeological Site 36 LY 37
Canfield Island and the West Branch Susquehanna River, as seen from Bald Eagle Mountain
Canfield Island Site
Location Canfield Island in the West Branch Susquehanna River, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania[2]

41°14′32″N 76°57′11″W / 41.24222°N 76.95306°W / 41.24222; -76.95306Coordinates: 41°14′32″N 76°57′11″W / 41.24222°N 76.95306°W / 41.24222; -76.95306

Area 21 acres (8.5 ha)
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82003799[1]
Added to NRHP April 14, 1982

The Canfield Island Site, also known as Archeological Site 36LY37, is an archaeological site in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, United States.[1] Located on Canfield Island in the West Branch Susquehanna River,[2]:7 the site lies east of the city of Williamsport in Loyalsock Township.[3] It is believed to have been inhabited by prehistoric Native Americans for thousands of years, with the oldest discoveries dating back to more than 1000 BCE.


Canfield Island is an artificial island formed by the digging of a ditch near the side of the West Branch Susquehanna in the early twentieth century; today, this ditch forms the northern half of the island's shoreline, and the West Branch forms the southern half.[2]:2, 6, 7 Much of the island has been cultivated during the historical period, but forests today cover a significant portion of the island. It has frequently received deposits from the West Branch.[2]:2 The island has a total area of 21 acres (8.5 ha).[2]:7

Archaeological investigation

The island was first revealed to be a potential archaeological site as a result of a preliminary investigation performed by an exploratory group of members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology who first visited the island in 1958. Beginning in 1960 and continuing periodically through 1980, a series of excavations yielded artifacts to a depth of 15 metres (49 ft) below the surface,[2]:2, 3 and surface artifacts were extant throughout the island.[2]:7 Since 1980, occasional investigations have continued at the site; a team from Lycoming College in Williamsport carried out an excavation on the island in 2003.[4]

Excavations yielded discoveries from a set of phases that was more complete than could be found at most comparable Pennsylvania sites. While ceramics are rare at the site, the presence of charcoal from a wide range of phases has provided a basis for dating charcoal found at many other sites in the state. Another significant discovery was a set of massive hearths amid large numbers of fishing nets, which has led to the proposal that Canfield Island was a major fishery.[2]:3


Archaeological investigations have concluded that Canfield Island was inhabited during the Late Archaic period (approximately 3,000 years BP)[2]:3[5] and a fragment found at the lowest point of investigation, while it cannot be dated conclusively, may have originated in the Early Archaic period. Various phases of the Woodland period appear at the site, and evidence exists of occupation by the Susquehannock,[2]:3 who still inhabited eastern Pennsylvania after the arrival of Europeans in the region.[6]


In 1982, Canfield Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of the amount of information it had yielded and because of its potential to yield even more information.[1] The site is today part of Riverfront Park,[4] a Loyalsock Township park that includes an archaeology-themed trail on the island.[7] Since 2003, local Native Americans have held an annual pow-wow on the island.[8]

See also


Further reading

  • Broyles, Betty. "Preliminary Report: The Saint Albans Site (46KA47) Kanawha County, West Virginia." The West Virginia Archaeologist 19 (1966): 1-43.

External links

  • Loyalsock Township Parks
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.