Buzzard’s Rock

— written by Aaron Boyd

I am not of any Indian descent, that I am aware, but my family is from the Rising Sun, Maryland, area near Conowingo. My heritage includes the Reynolds family who received some of the Nottingham Lots from William Penn.

I wanted to be sure you and other Susquehannock descendants were aware of a piece of history which is most likely connected to your heritage. The site is located on the Horseshoe Scout Reservation in Chester County, Pennsylvania, just across the state line from Rising Sun, Maryland, which was originally part of the Nottingham Lots owned by the Reynolds family. In addition to living in the area, I was also involved in scouting and worked on the Boy Scout reservation during my summers as a youth. There is a natural rock formation in Camp Horseshoe overlooking Octoraro Creek known as “Buzzards Rock”. In 1988, archeologists performed an excavation and found that “earliest artifacts indicate that the shelter was first occupied nearly eight to ten thousand years ago.” Artifacts included items such as pottery and arrowheads and showed evidence of occupation even after European influence. The site is now designated officially as “Horseshoe Rockshelter (36Ch488)”.

The following abstract was printed in The Pennsylvania Archaeologist, vol 76(2) 2006:



Excavations in 1988 at Horseshoe Rockshelter (36CH488) demonstrated that Native Americans utilized the shelter from Early Archaic times through the Contact period.  Evidence suggests that the site was primarily used as a short term hunting camp during prehistoric times.  There also is evidence that the site functioned as a quartz procurement/processing camp, most likely during the Late Woodland period.  The shelter continued to experience periodic use by Euroamericans during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Boy Scout camping activities at the rockshelter in recent times disturbed much of the prehistoric cultural deposits.  Nevertheless, the excavation produced significant data regarding prehistoric activities at the site.

A narrative of the site and the archaeological dig can be found on the Horseshoe Scout Reservation Alumni Association website. I might be off by a couple hundred feet, but the site is located at GPS 39.722234,-76.120968 (+39° 43′ 20.08″, -76° 7′ 15.37″).

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