Snyder Site Complex

The Snyder Site Complex consists of multicomponent prehistoric localities situated on landscapes adjacent to the Delaware River in the river basin’s mid-section. The oldest of the occupations (Paleoindian cultural period), date to approximately 13,000 years ago in New Jersey. Over 30 fluted Paleoindian projectile points or bifaces have been reported from plowed/surface and buried, stratified contexts.

The sites of the Snyder Complex, along with relatively few others (most notably the Plenge Site in Asbury, NJ) in the Delaware Valley, stand out because of the large area that it covers, the number of fluted bifaces that can be associated with its Paleoindian occupations, and the fact that it is revisited throughout the Paleoindian period. By not conforming with the patterning of most other Paleoindian localities, the Snyder Complex begs the question why? Is it uniquely situated relative to natural resources of critical importance to Paleoindians?  Is the existence of a local source of toolstone the key factor influencing Paleoindian settlement patterns and the repeated use of local landscapes?   Is the site a gathering place, a location convenient to the territories of a number of Paleoindian bands, where exchanges of information, trade, and socializing could take place?  Is it a well-known stopping place along trails linking the Delaware Valley and Middle Atlantic Region with Paleoindian territories of the greater Northeast?

Renewed research at the Plenge site and its potential relationship with the Snyder Complex (Gingerich 2013:142) stimulated the efforts of Jennifer C. Rankin (in support of her dissertation research at Temple University) and Dr. R. Michael Stewart (Temple University and New Jersey's Historic Preservation Office) to pull together previous research and initiate new field work and a research program in 2014.