Noonmark Antiques

History Rocks: Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown, New Jersey

Charles HammellComment

You might know that the Quakers were the first European people to settle Moorestown in the 1680’s. 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 populated the region from Ohio, spreading east to Pennsylvania and Maryland, north to New York and south to Kentucky. The Adena promoted a culture that was very particular about proper 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 in Moorestown involves an archaeological survey which took place four years ago. The dig was led by Ilene Grossman Bailey, Senior Archaeologist at Richard Grubb & Associates. The team found pieces of silt stone pipe fragments indigenous to the Adena people. Why are these fragments  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. Maybe other people groups made copies after seeing the Adena’s pipes. In any case, the discovery is an exciting one. This exhibition features relics from the past discovered in various locations in Moorestown including the pipe fragments.

Special thanks to professional archaeologist Jack Cresson for lending a substantial part of his collection to the exhibit and providing a flint knapping demonstration on the opening day of the exhibition. Thank you to Dr. Gregory Lattanzi, New Jersey State Archaeologist Curator for his assistance in identifying and interpreting the recent finds and his instructive presentation at the Society’s October General Meeting. Thanks to the New Jersey State Museum for the loan of early tubular pipes to compare and contrast at the exhibit.

The Historical Society of Moorestown is open every Tuesday from 1-4 pm and the second and fourth Sundays of each month from 1-3 pm. There will be a free Holiday Open House on Friday December 2, 2016 from 5:30 -8:00 pm. The exhibit will be open to the public. www.moorestown.com/history

Smith Cadbury Mansion, 12 High Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

Map of Moorestown indicating locations of early artifact discoveries

Corresponding display case to the above map

Laurel Creek section of Moorestown

RCA section of Moorestown

The pipe fragments which inspired the exhibit

Pipes on loan from the New jersey State Museum for comparison

The section of Moorestown where the pipe fragments were discovered

Professional view of pipe fragments

A collection of artifacts on permanent view at the Historical Society of Moorestown