Meet Debbie Saylor, Curator and Research Director for Indian Steps Museum. "Archaeology has always been my passion, especially examining local prehistoric and historic sites along the Susquehanna River.
Upon finding many artifacts, I was not satisfied with just the physical object, but wanted to know who used or made this object, what time period or culture it belonged to, how did these peoples live, communicate, worship and deal with death. Like any good scientific research project, I was able to find answers to my original question, but raised many more upon further investigation.
I must admit, there is an excitement when you find an artifact and realize the last person who used this tool or projectile point was perhaps several thousand years ago. But once an artifact is removed from its provenience (original location) and not properly recorded, the archaeological value is lost.
The archaeological term provenience means to document where (in situ) the item was found. Important data such as soil depth, geographical locations and features are recorded to help the archaeologist piece together the cultural/time puzzle.
My responsibility as a research director is to teach collectors how to properly identify, document and share data; to inspire appreciation & properly preserve material possession of past cultures.
In order to fulfill Indian Steps mission statement - “to safely guard and preserve these former possession of and monuments to an ancient Indian people" - an effort was made to actively engage the public in hands on learning via lectures, workshops and archaeological research."