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From the ASNJ List:
Amateur archaeologist, Leonard Ziegler, will be speaking about the peopling of the Americas and displaying hundreds of the stone tools used by these early inhabitants. He will share with the attendees his more than 60 years of collecting artifacts and about the Plenge 22-acre Paleo Indian site complex, which goes back in time approximately 13,000 years. It is the first recognized site complex of its kind in the Northeastern United States.
In the early 1970's Len didn't realize the importance of the artifacts in his collection - not until it was brought to the attention of Dr. Herbert Kraft, Professor and Archaeologist at Seton Hall University. Kraft arrived at Ziegler' s home the next day after being informed of the contents of the collection. Kraft carried the collection back to Seton Hall for study and classification and produced and published a preliminary report in 1972. Kraft, with students from Seton Hall, conducted a few test excavations that summer at the Plenge site which proved disappointing, as no features of the Paleo period were encountered. Since then there have been a number of Professional Archaeologists who have studied different phases of the collection and published their findings. The site and its artifacts continue to be of interest to researchers.
The Smithsonian became very interested in the Plenge site which resulted in Ziegler' s donating most of his Plenge site collection to Dennis Stanford, Director of Paleo Indian Studies at the Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington D.C. The collection was donated in two installments consisting of 15,799 artifacts from Paleo Indian times right up to the contact with Europeans.
Following his service in the Korean War, Leonard moved to Asbury, and in 1954, went to work at the Asbury Graphite Mills, which later became Asbury Carbons, Inc. He became intrigued about the early history of the region and especially with the Indian artifacts he began to accumulate by walking the farm fields after plowing in the spring of the year. He served as a founding member of the Asbury Volunteer Fire Company. He served on the Franklin Township School Board and the Franklin Township Historical Commission.. At his retirement in 1991, he left as Executive Vice President of Asbury Carbons, Inc., the parent company of its many Divisions World Wide, and President of its Anthracite Industries, one of its Divisions in Sunbury, PA.
Leonard continues to be active in the archaeology field and is a member of the Forks of the Delaware Chapter #14, and life member of Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology, as well as a life member of the New Jersey Archaeological Society. He was also active in Veterans affairs and was Commander of the Harry F.W. Johnson Post 379 of Bethlehem, PA, Trumpet player in the American Legion Band of Bethlehem, PA, Past Commander of The Northampton County American Legion and Deputy Commander and Chaplin of the 30th District American Legion of Pennsylvania.
Leonard will have on display a large portion of his remaining collection at the upcoming lecture on April 23rd, which is part of the High Bridge Cultural and Heritage Committee Speaker Series. The presentation will take place on Monday, April 23, at 7:30 PM in the High Bridge Emergency Squad Building, 95 West Main Street (Route 513), High Bridge, NJ 08829.