Map of Sites

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Monongahela Villages

Monongahela villages often consisted of one or more rings of houses arranged around a central open plaza. A ceremonially or ritually significant post, hearth, or roasting pit may have been located in the center of the plaza. Ceremonies in the center of the plaza may have renewed a community's link to the cosmos. Considerable variation in family types and sizes within this basic village framework is evident in Somerset County, as demonstrated in the book Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition.

List of Sites


Cross section of a Monongahela village showing its circular layout.
Illustration of a Monongahela village site shown in cross-section. Copyright Laura J. Galke. Used with permission


Rockshelter Sites

Rockshelters were generally special use sites that were not occupied for any great length of time, but individual occupations stretched back thousands of years. During the Monongahela period, small teams of people from hamlets or villages located in the general area used the rockshelters as bases while they hunted and gathered wild plants, including nuts and berries. The two best known New Deal excavated rockshelters in Somerset County are the Martz Rock Shelter and Martz Rock Shelter No. 2, since both sites were investigated again in the 1990s prior to their destruction to make way for a new highway around Meyersdale, Pennsylvania.

List of Sites


WPA field crew excavating under the overhang of the Martz Rock Shelter
WPA field crew excavating under the overhang of the Martz Rock Shelter