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Martz Rock Shelter site (36 So 14)
Men digging with shovels and hand tools under a rockshelter overhang

A feature at Powell 2 (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission)

The Martz Rock Shelter was located on the farm of Harry Martz, approximately two miles north-west of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. The site was on a wooded hill above the north bank of the Casselman River. The rock shelter faces south under a projecting overhang of 7.5 feet. The Martz Rock Shelter site consists not only of the shallow overhang, but also a relatively deep but narrow crevice and a fairly spacious and level area (or bench) in front of the overhang. Along with the Martz Rock Shelter 2, this site was excavated in 1938 by a WPA field crew and again in the 1990s, this time by a private archaeology firm in advance of the site's destruction for a new highway. The 1994-1995 archaeological investigations found intact deposits containing American Indian artifacts both outside the areas excavated by the WPA crew and below the deepest layers studied by the WPA archaeologists. Artifacts associated with the WPA crew were also uncovered. Archival research was critical to interpreting the 1938 WPA findings and guiding the 1990s investigations of the site. Construction of the Meyersdale Bypass has since destroyed this site.

Artifact Images
1938 photograph of groundstone tools recovered from the Martz Rock Shelter. Tracings of artifacts recovered in 1938. The whereabouts of the artifacts themselves is not known Shovel blade found wedged in the Martz Rock Shelter's crevice, possibly left by a WPA crew member. Liquor bottle base found below 1938 backfill, definitely left by a WPA crew member.
1938 photograph of groundstone tools recovered from the Martz Rock Shelter.

Tracings of artifacts recovered in 1938. The whereabouts of the artifacts themselves are not known.

Shovel blade found wedged in the Martz Rock Shelter's crevice, possibly left by a WPA crew member.

Liquor bottle base found below 1938 backfill, definitely left by a WPA crew member.

American Indian bifacial stone tool recovered in 1990s. American Indian groundstone hematite phallic pendant recovered in 1990s. American Indian ceramic sherd with interior & exterior cordmarking recovered in 1990s. Glass bead recovered in 1990s.
American Indian bifacial stone tool recovered in 1990s. American Indian groundstone hematite phallic pendant recovered in 1990s. American Indian ceramic sherd with interior & exterior cordmarking recovered in 1990s. Glass bead recovered in 1990s.
Historic ceramics probably from nearby farmstead recovered in 1990s.      
Historic ceramics probably from nearby farmstead recovered in 1990s.      

Site Maps

Estimated limits of 1938 WPA excavations at the Martz    Location of Phase II test units excavated at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994 and 1995.

(1) Estimated limits of 1938 WPA excavations at the Martz site. (2) Location of Phase II test units excavated at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994 and 1995.  [Click to view enlargement]. 

References

Augustine, Edgar

1938      Important Research on Peck and Martz Rock Shelter Site in Somerset County.  Pennsylvania Archaeologist 8 (4):83-88.


 Means, Bernard K.

1998       Archaeological Past and Present: Field Methodology from 1930s Relief Excavations in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and its Relevance to Modern Archaeological Interpretations.  Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 14:39-63.

             Available on line at: http://www.quemahoning.com/Somerset/BKMeans/WPA.htm

1999       Monongahela Mortuary Practices in Somerset County, Pennsylvania: Observations and Implications.  Pennsylvania Archaeologist 69 (2):15-44.

2002       Revisiting Mary Butler’s “Three Archaeological Sites in Somerset County, Pennsylvania” for Continuing Insights into Depression-era Archaeology in Southwestern Pennsylvania and Late Prehistoric Monongahela Social Organization. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 72 (2): 8-46.

2003       Deliver Me From Mononga-Hell: Thinking Beyond the Culture History Paradigm to Examine the Temporal and Spatial Parameters of Somerset Monongahela Village Settlements.  Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 19:37-58.

2006       Circular Reasoning: Drawing on Models of Ring-shaped Village Spatial Layouts To Examine Villages in Late Prehistoric Pennsylvania. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.

2007       Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition   The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

 

Site Scenes

Photographs on this page indicated by a (*) date to 1938. Click on the image for a larger photograph.

The Martz Rock Shelter in 1938 
The Martz Rock Shelter in 1938 (*)

The Martz Rock Shelter in 1938
The Martz Rock Shelter in 1938 (*)

 1938 WPA excavations on left and 1994 recreation on right
1938 WPA excavations (*) on left and 1994 recreation on right

 1938 WPA excavations on left and 1994 recreation on right
1938 WPA excavations (*) on left and 1994 recreation on right

  1938 WPA excavations on top and 1994 recreation on bottom

1938 WPA excavations (*) on top and 1994 recreation on bottom

 1938 WPA excavations on top and 1994 recreation on bottom
1938 WPA excavations (*) on top and 1994 recreation on bottom

 1938 WPA excavations on left and 1994 recreation on right
1938 WPA excavations (*) on left and 1994 recreation on right

 Excavating at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994.
Excavating at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994.

 The Martz Rock Shelter in 1994.
The Martz Rock Shelter in 1994.

 Looking out from the crevice at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994
Looking out from the crevice at the Martz Rock Shelter in 1994