‘History in 30 Minutes’:

Archeologist discusses local history at STEM meeting.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: A painted rock at Swede Runs Fields’ Save the Environment of Moorestown addresses the recent completion of the fields’ pollinator garden.

Save the Environment of Moorestown (STEM) held its annual meeting on April 19 and invited local archaeologist Jack Cresson to give a presentation on the township’s prehistoric history.

“He (Jack) has been a member of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey since 1968 and currently serves as chairman of the research committee,” said Mark Pensiero, president of STEM. “He has been a longstanding and recognized member of several regional archeological societies.”

- Advertisement -

Cresson has taught teaching workshops in Moorestown since 1985 and was a founding board member of the Society of Primitive Technology and the Society of Experimental and Primitive Technology. He has also conducted several archaeological surveys that were incorporated into STEM’s natural resources inventory.

Cresson researches contract archeology, described by ngsba.org as archeological surveys and excavations carried out, under commercial contract, in areas threatened by or with construction or other development. His presentation, “A Prehistoric Survey of Moorestown in 30 Minutes,” provided background on the township’s land. 

“These are places (prehistoric sites) on or within the landscape that reflect past human behavior,” Cresson explained. “Sites can reflect periods, phases, activities and moments in prehistoric time. We can see activities where somebody went, did something on the landscape, left what they left and you can read it.”

Kresson noted qualities he looks for when searching sites to investigate.

“Water, elevation and soil … It’s just that sandier sites seem to be the trigger for site selection,” he said, “but there’s not a place you can’t go and not find something.”

Earlier in the meeting, Pensiero addressed STEM’s 2021 wrap-up, including the removal of bags of garlic mustard from South Valley Woods with students from the high school’s Outdoor Service Club, installing four elevated walkways at Esther Yanai Preserve and four at South Valley Woods and completing the pollinator garden at Swede Run Fields.

“I think we’re in a great position to continue to have a positive impact on Moorestown’s environment,” he noted. “We have the capital – both financial and human – to make good things happen.”

STEM will also celebrate its fifth anniversary this year with the community.

“We as Moorestonians were blessed that a group of four inspired women – Barbara Rich, Renee Boulis, Kay Smith and Esther Yanai – thought that our open spaces were treasures and that we needed to preserve them before they were all gobbled up,” Pensiero said.

After member Chet Dawson gave his treasurer’s meeting report, Pensiero made a motion to approve the officers and board members as presented: Mark Pensiero (president), Kathy Huffman (vice president), Claire Adair (director),  Susan Buffalino (director), Betsy Schnorr (director), Nancy Clem (director),  Elaine Young (director), Harry Meyer (director), Joan Ponessa (director) and Katie Leekley.

After the motion’s approval, Pensiero announced that member Joseph Ponessa will step down from the board.

“He (has) served many years on the board and served two very productive terms as STEM’s president,” Pensiero noted. “Joe, we will miss your leadership guidance and advice.

“All of us thank you for your many years of service to STEM and the township.”

- Advertisment -