Prehistoric/Contact-Era Native American Collections

The prehistoric archaeology collections at the New York State Museum number over 2 million specimens. Assembled over the last 150 years, these include artifacts and records from fieldwork by former state archaeologists Arthur C. Parker, William A. Ritchie and Robert E. Funk; professional CRM investigations for federal and state-permitted projects; and systematic collecting by avocational archaeologists. Available for research and exhibit loan, these collections document the sweep of Native American prehistory across the New York region. Chronologically, the collections include artifacts from (1) the earliest human inhabitants of New York, beginning 13,000 years ago; (2) early through late Holocene hunter-gatherers; and (3) late prehistoric settlements up to the 15th century A.D. We also curate major collections of protohistoric (16th century A.D.) and contact-era materials from New York Iroquois and Mohican sites.