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Academic Research-Archeology - TravelStorys

Paddling the Abbott Marshlands

Location Trip Time Travel Type
New Jersey 2 hours

Academic Research-Archeology

The Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark is a more than 2,000-acre expanse of prehistoric and historic sites located around the Delaware River. This landmark is named after a prominent early scholar and local resident, Dr. Charles Conrad Abbott (1843-1919), who collected Native American artifacts near his home along Crosswicks Creek in the late 1800s. He wrote extensively about his findings and spawned national controversy because he believed that he had discovered proof of Paleolithic humans in North America. Archaeological investigations over the last 140 years not only confirmed Abbott's theory, but also revealed a variety of Native American activities and settlements dating back 13,000 years. The Abbott Farm is one of the most intensively studied series of landscapes in the entire Middle Atlantic Region. Today, researchers continue to use archaeological and scientific techniques to collect and analyze data from the archaeological deposits surrounding the marsh. Michael Stewart (associate professor emeritus of Anthropology at Temple University), Greg Lattanzi (NJ State Archaeologist), and George Pevarnik (former graduate student at Temple University) study this area and have researched unique types of highly decorated pottery known as Abbott wares. The wares are most concentrated locally, especially in Roebling Park and Watson Woods, but can be found sporadically over a broad geographic area ranging from southern New England to Virginia. The study of Abbott wares extends beyond living and survival patterns and helps unveil the intricate social relations of the ancient peoples of this region. Archeologists believe that the Native Americans used the Abbott wares as feasting and ceremonial bowls during gatherings or rituals of far-flung but related groups. The pots were then taken back to individual settlements, illuminating the social networks of the region as evidenced by modern archeological excavations of the Abbott wares across the Eastern U.S.

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