The Archaeology of the Lewistown Narrows

The Archaeology of the Lewistown NarrowsMifflin and Juniata Counties, PA

HAI worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to identify and test archaeological sites affected by the planned creation of a four-lane divided highway through the Lewistown Narrows in Mifflin and Juniata Counties. These included eight prehistoric Native American sites and remnants of the 19th century canal and associated structures. Our studies emphasized the long and complex history of transportation embodied in the archaeological sites within the six-mile length of the Narrows.

Two of the prehistoric sites merited more intensive study. HAI’s investigations at 36Ju104 revealed traces of over 8500 years of use. Small groups of travelers camped at the site on the way through the region, carrying stone for tools obtained from both distant and local sources. They also made use of a local sandstone outcrop for a variety of disposable tools. Our studies revealed remarkably little change in the way the site was used and the activities of inhabitants throughout the long span of its occupation.

We also looked at the portions of the Juniata Division of the Pennsylvania Canal that passed through the Narrows, exposing and recording a lock and related features for future reconstruction and interpretive exhibits. The prehistoric and historic archaeological studies complement each other in the story of how the Lewistown Narrows was as important a transportation corridor for the first inhabitants of the land as it was for the later Euroamerican arrivals.

Heberling Associates, Inc. was awarded the 2006 Federal Highway Administration/Pennsylvania Division Transportation and Historic Preservation Excellence Award for its work on the US Route 22 Lewistown Narrows Project.

The Archaeology of the Lewistown Narrows