About the NYSAA

The NYSAA is the primary organization for professional and avocational archaeologists in New York State. From its birth in Rochester in 1916, when the state archaeologist, Dr. Arthur Parker, formed the Lewis Henry Morgan Chapter, it has grown in size to sixteen chapters that span the state. Over the years, the Association has been involved in the excavation of some of the most important sites in Northeast prehistory. (For a more extensive discussion of the association's history, check out the main NYSAA site's history page.)

Locally, an anthropological section of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences was formed first in 1920 but only lasted a year or so. An archaeological section was formed in 1935 but similarly dissolved within a year. A second anthropological section was formed in 1945. This group lasted until 1953 when it became the Frederick M. Houghton Chapter of the NYSAA with Gorden J. Schmahl as our first president.

While each chapter meets regularly, the NYSAA holds a meeting and conference in a different part of the state each year. This brings all of the distant chapter members together to socialize and share their knowledge and expertise. Additionally, our Chapter holds its own annual banquet with a guest speaker who presents a special topic in archaeology. (Please see our activities page for more on these meetings and other events.)

The Houghton Chapter is part of the New York State Archaeological Association (NYSAA), whose constitution states:

"... the purpose of the Association shall be to promote archaeological and historical study and research covering the artifacts, rites, customs, beliefs and other phases of the lives and cultures of the aboriginal occupants of New York State up to and including their contact with the Europeans..."


President: Susan Maguire
Vice-President: Rianna Rogers
Treasurer: Don Smith
Corresponding Secretary: Kate Whalen
Trustees: Bill Engelbrecht; Robert Dean, Elizabeth Peña, Kathy Leacock, Lisa Marie Anselmi


F.M. Houghton Chapter

Anthropology Department
Buffalo State University
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY, USA 14222
Ph: 716-878-6110

Questions about Chapter membership and activities may be sent by phone, fax, or regular mail to the following addresses, or electronically using the form below.

If you would like to know more about local prehistory, or are a teacher who needs more information to fill out your courses, there is a booklet available for $3 called The Prehistory of Western New York.

In addition, the Chapter has a variety of hats, t-shirts, and sometimes sweatshirts available for sale with the NYSAA logo. We are also considering ordering some coffee mugs.

Join Us

Everyone who is interested in archaeology and the past, avocational archaeologists, professionals, students, and the public at large, is invited to join the F.M. Houghton Chapter. Sustaining memberships are available to individuals, institutions, and corporations.

Members receive the NYSAA Bulletin, a journal which contains numerous articles about New York state archeology. By joining the Chapter one automatically becomes a member of the NYSAA.

Annual dues, for the year beginning in January, include fees for the New York State Archaeological Association, subscription to the Association Bulletin, and postage costs for Chapter meeting announcements.

Dr. Susan Maguire
F.M. Houghton Chapter
Anthropology - Buffalo State University
1300 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222

Questions? Contact our president.

Active Member $28 - Husband and Wife $35 - Student - $18

Frederick M. Houghton

(1869 - 1950)

The Chapter is named in memory of Frederick M. Houghton who pioneered Western New York archaeology during his half-century of service as an educator and administrator in the Buffalo public school system.

The son of an English couple, Houghton was born on a small farm in south Buffalo in 1869. On graduating high school, he sold wholesale hardware for four years before passing the first civil service exam for principals. He was assigned first to school 29, in 1895, and, three years later, to school 28. This was the Polish community of Buffalo, and there he remained until his retirement in 1939, at age 70.

Houghton pioneered teaching English as a second language (ESL). He wrote two textbooks and established a revolutionary program which were adopted as national standards in the US and Canada. In addition to being principal of five public schools (41 years), and director of immigrant education for the Buffalo Board of Education (12 years), Houghton lectured in education (14 years) at SUNY Buffalo State. He also taught English to immigrants, educated teachers of ESL, developed the first cooperative arrangement between a school and museum (Buffalo Museum of Science), an arrangement which has been copied throughout the United States. Houghton's love of nature lead him to establish a native wildflower preserve in the Zoar Valley near Springville, N.Y. He died after a brief illness in 1950 and is interred in Woodlawn Cemetary, Orchard Park, N.Y.

Houghton received training in geology at Harvard University (no degree granted), and for seven years he carried out geological and archaeological research for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in his spare time. Recognized for his contributions to the natural science of the Niagara Frontier, Houghton was active as an avocational archaeologist for close to three decades. Indeed, his publications remain some of the most authoritative works yet published on the region. As a member of the Board of Managers of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (1898-1950) and third Vice President (1942-1950) of the Buffalo Museum of Science, he was a leading figure in the programs concerning archaeology and geology presented at the Museum.

Houghton conducted seminal research into the origins of the Seneca nation, tracing their village migration in western New York, as well as conducting geological and archaeological research that reached from Elmira, N.Y., south to the Pennsylvania border, northwest to Welland, Ontario, and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Some of his Iroquoian research was especially important at a time when the Iroquoian peoples were pushing forward land claims with the governments of Canada and the U.S.

Houghton received an honorary M.S. from Alfred University in 1911, and the Cornplanter Medal for Iroquoian Research from the Cayuga Historical Society in Auburn, N.Y., in 1923. Houghton Academy (Buffalo School 69) and nearby fifty acre Houghton Park on Clinton Street in Buffalo were established through his efforts and bear his name.

Selected Works

(Most of these items are available at the Buffalo Museum of Science library, as are all of his field notes.)

1899: On the Occurrence on Iroquoian Village Sites of Stone Scrapers and Perforators.

1909: The Indian occupancy of the Niagara Frontier (aka Indian village, camp and burial sites on the Niagara frontier). Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 9(3):261-375

1909: Report on the Neuter Cemetary, Grand Island, New York. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 9(3):376-385

1911: First Lessons in English for Foreigners in Evening School. American Book Company, New York.

1912: The Seneca Nation from 1655 to 1687. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 10(2):363-464

1912: Report on an ossuary (Number Two) at Orangeport, Niagara County, New York. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 10(2):471-476

1914: The geology of Erie County. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 11(1):3-92

1916: The characteristics of Iroquoian village sites of western New York. American Anthropologist 18(4):508-520.

1917: Second Book in English for Foreigners in Evening Schools. American Book Company, New York.

1920: The History of the Buffalo Creek Reservation. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, v. 24, pp. 1-181.

1922: The archeology of the Genesee country. Researches and Transactions of the New York State Archeological Association 3(2) (Reprinted in 1970 by Kraus Reprint Co., New York.)

1927: The migrations of the Seneca Nation. American Anthropologist 29(2):241-250

1927: Immigrant Education: A Hand Book Prepared for the Board of Education, Buffalo, New York. Buffalo, New York.

1941: There's more than meets the camera's eye in photographic geology. Hobbies (Buffalo Society of Natural of Sciences) 21:51-52

1945: Dutch Hill Rock Exposures. Hobbies (BSNS) 25:107

1948: Iroquois village sites on the Niagara Frontier. Hobbies (BSNS) 28:75

During the summer, the Chapter does not meet formally. Members will occasionally go on an outing to visit locally important sites, or help with an urgent or exciting project. (See our Gateway to WNY Archaeology for some pictures!) Typically this is the time when Chapter members go their own ways to join excavations or plan their own field trips.

Want to go on a dig..? While we do not currently conduct our own excavations, three leads for those keen to volunteer on an archaeological excavation are the UB Archaeological Survey, and the Buffalo Museum of Science's Hiscock Site.

Early fall is a special time when we join with our colleagues across the country to help promote and celebrate archaeology with Archaeology Week, usually late September or early October. Our September meetings often include reports from various local archaeologists about their summer field work. For a larger listing of state-wide archaeological events, try the NYAC events calendar.

September to May, the Chapter holds its monthly meetings. All meetings are on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 7:00 p.m.

Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, New York
Ph: 716-896-5200

Meetings include a guest speaker on an archaeological topic as well as a chance for informal discussion between members. Everyone is encouraged to bring in artifacts or knapping accomplishments for show or identification (no sales of artifacts are permitted). After the talk, we usually enjoy refreshments including homemade baked goods. You do not need to be a member of the Chapter or the NYS Archaeological Association to attend!

Annual Meeting

Our parent organization, the NYSAA has one annual meeting in a different part of the state each year. At the meeting, there are several sessions in which scholarly papers are presented by professional archaeologists and avocationalists on topics relating to prehistoric, historic, and underwater archaeology. There is also a book and exhibit room, a banquet with a special guest and keynote speaker, and the chance to meet many other people who share your interests! The general public is always welcome to attend.