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Amateur Archeologists Uncover Rare Artifact in Venango County

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Amateur archaeologists in Venango County have uncovered a rare,"organic artifact" dating back to 1200 A.D.

"These kind of things are so rarely preserved outside of dry caves, or rock shelters, or frozen  environments, that finding something like this, and it's about 1,000 years old, finding something like this in Pennsylvania is a very unique thing," said Director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute, J.M. Adovosio.

The artifact, believed be made from plants, wood or a combination of both, is now being examined at Mercyhurst University's Archaeological Institute. Archaeologists believe the artifact was found in what was once an early village of Native Americans in Sugarcreek, but aren't sure what the artifact is.  

"We're optimistic that there's evidence of some sort of woven article; a basket, a textile, a mat, or perhaps some bits of string," said Ed Jolie, an assistant professor of Anthropology at Mercyhurst University. "But until we're able to clean it up and better evaluate what's going on we won't know what sort of structure is there. And that's how we identify these ancient, woven artifacts, is by the structure, and how the elements are interlaced."

That's something students at Mercyhurst University will get to experience first-hand. They'll get the rare opportunity to excavate, analyze and document the artifact.

"It provides a vehicle for the education experience that is unrivaled," said Adovosio. "It's one thing to talk about how to do this in a book, it's another to actually able to do it."

But it won't be an easy task. The process could take months, maybe even years.
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