Part One: Artifacts of History

By Haley Burton

June 2, 2011 Updated Jun 2, 2011 at 7:32 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The Southern Tier is rich in history, did you know -- you can find ancient pieces of it right in your own backyard?
In the first part of a series of stories about our history... One lifelong Chenango County resident has an extensive collection of ancient artifacts, and is bringing local history back to life.

"In a way I kind of think I have a museum," says Pat McElligott.

Ten thousand years of local history sits in his home in Guilford.

"I've got artifacts that go back to what are called fluted points to the clovic culture. Initially archaeologists thought they were about 5-thousand years old but greater technology they've moved back about double. I've got those right up through Brandt's camp of the Revolutionary War," he says.

McElligott has been combing the grounds and rivers of Chenango County for years, looking for American Indian artifacts.

"Mainly from the Susquehanna River and the Unadilla River. I grew up in East Guilford so that's the central area that i've done archaeological surveys. I also have in Hamden, NY, outside Walton, others areas too," he says.

His collection started when he was just in first grade at Sidney Elementary, after hearing a history about Mohawk leader, Joseph Brandt,

Brandt played a large role during and after the Revolutionary War.

"I'm also fond of the first one I found. I still remember walking in a field and finding one point. I thought it was an arrowhead," McElligott says.

Since that first point, he has been hooked on archaeological digs. His collection now features nearly 5,000 pieces, thanks to the help of his sons and daughters who join in on day long searches.

"My kids think it's a giggle because I can remember every point. I mean, I write it down too, because when i'm not here. I remember every point, every single one and some of them are special not just for me finding them but unique or important pieces," he says.

These pieces include arrowheads, bowls and utensils.

All kinds of artwork and decorations, and all Southern Tier treasures.

Over the next week, Action News reporter Haley Burton will show you more of the treasures of McElligot's home museum.

We'll go on an archaeological dig with him, and learn how these pieces of the past shape the world we live in today.