Over the years, the NYSM has received donations of very large archaeological collections numbering hundreds of thousands of specimens—but small collections can also be important. One such donation, modest in size but rich in content, was made to the NYSM in 2019 by the McVaugh family.
Born in 1909, Rogers McVaugh grew up on his parents’ farm north of Kinderhook, Columbia County, in the ancestral territory of Munsee-speaking Mohican people. As a young man in the 1920s, McVaugh collected ancient Native American stone tools while plowing his family’s land, and recently his son Michael donated the collection to the Museum.
This small group of about fifty objects consists primarily of projectile points. Made by percussion flaking of fine-grained stone, these points were lashed to the tips of hunting weaponry. Based on documented changes in form through time, this collection records as many as 9,000 years of Indigenous history in what is Columbia County today. Importantly, these and other archaeological collections and sites from this part of the Hudson Valley hold special significance for the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation as part of their cultural heritage.
Discover more about NYSM Native American Archaeology research and collections featured during Native American History Month: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/native-american-heritage-month