Tom ‘Tank’ Baird2023-04-07T15:23:35-04:00

Tom ‘Tank’ Baird

Tom ‘Tank’ Baird is an avocational archaeologist and local historian with Northcentral Chapter 8,of the Society for PA Archaeology. His presence helped the little archaeology chapter come back to life. He became president, and served for several years in that role, before accepting the vice president title when his tenure ended. He serves in both roles, depending upon the decade.
He’s introduced a lot of people to archaeology during the past ten years, as he became an avocational archaeologist, himself.
He’s self-taught and spends much of his free time reading about prehistoric cultures in the Northeast, visiting museums and archaeology sites, and absorbing everything. That’s the difference between passion and interest. Tank doesn’t wait for an invitation. He seizes opportunities to learn with both hands and relishes everything.
He’s become a local expert in just a few years, because his passion is genuine. He’s made many new friends because of it, and he knew what he was going to be doing when he finally retired: even more archaeology and more presentations.
He gives Scouts and college groups tours at the local dig site, he goes to schools to talk, and he is a frequent guests on the rubber-chicken circuit, chatting at the VFWs, the Rotary Clubs, the Masons, the Moose, and more, telling anyone who will listen about local prehistory.
Tank is a frequent guest on Ted Saul’s “Sunday Morning Magazine” talk show, speaking about Indians and significant local historic events.
Tank has many legacies but he’s most proud of the fact that he’s been a part of several PBS documentaries, sharing his stories about Indians in the West Branch Valley.
He’s also proud of the rare, priceless human face effigy he was able to purchased from a local collector, placing it in the local museum, and ensuring it will remain protected and a part of NCC8’s public educational outreach for a long time. He’s added many more items of interest to his collection and has become a professional artifact collector.

Browse Tank’s Articles

Grinding Stone: Part 3

Archaeology Find: Drilled Holes in Metate, Bannerstones Last week we had an artifact found by member Jim Carn and pretty much it’s been a part-time job for me trying to validate the find ever since.  Jim actually brought it to my house on the bed of his pickup. At about two feet long and really heavy, Jim was in the right place at the right time to

Grinding Stone: Part 2

Archaeology Find: Metate Confirmed The exciting news today is that during this pandemic Jim Carn has found a real mystery item. We have sent pictures to Gary Fogelman and at this point, he thinks it might be the real thing pending closer examination. He is also mystified about the hole. Jim wrote last night that the hole appears elbow-shaped. The cursory look that I had appeared to

Grinding Stone: Part 1

Archaeology Find: Metate in Lycoming County, PA I’m taking advantage of the sunshine (aka coronavirus killer). I went fishing and foraging. I was a hunter-gatherer. See the first picture. These are ramps They are not spring onions although many people call them that. These are leek and you can use the entire plant. They make a fine batch of potatoes and give recipes a wonderfully different taste.

Bird Points

Archaeology Find: Bird Points for Arrows The weekend was pretty busy with interaction via email. We are inspiring conversations on typology, archaeology, local history, and artifact identification. Covid19 time indoors has been an opportunity for learning. This morning, how about bird points as a topic? They are also called jewel or gem arrowheads and these would be true arrowheads developed for the bow and arrow.

Surface Collecting in the Montoursville

Archaeology Finds: Miscellaneous Points, Adze, Etc. The shared artifacts were found locally by Hunter Duffield. Hunter has been surface collecting in the Montoursville area and Dick Snyder called me and asked that I give him a hand. So let's look at the pictures. Picture 1 is a couple of Archaic points the slight corner notching on the right might be a Brewerton or Brewerton like. Picture two

‘Lost’ History of Andrew Montour in Perry County

“They were driven from the lands on which they had settled and on April 18, 1752, Andrew Montour was commissioned by the governor to settle and reside upon these Indian lands, the Indians on July 2, 1750, having petitioned for such occupation, and arrangements having been made with them for such occupation at a place considered most central, to see that the lands were not settled upon and to warn

Plum Tree Massacre and Iroquois War on Colonial Expansion

The date was June 10th, 1778.  In the east, the Revolutionary War raged and colonial forces under General George Washington were seeing key victories producing a turning point in the conflict. People living here in what would become Lycoming County PA were also part of that war. They were fighting for their lives against an enemy and ally of the British whose very plan of attack included ambush and lightning

The Widaagh Monument in Antes Fort

So, what does a forty-five-foot tall, forty-one-ton monument on private land, the Susquehannock Indians, an ex-bank president in Indian dress-up, and a magical place called Lockabar have in common? Well, historian Carl Becker once said it best, "history is an imaginative creation" and that tongue-in-cheek remark never bore more truth than the story of the King Widaagh Monument in Nippenose Township, PA. When I first saw the monument (yes the

NCC8 Finds Mysterious Artifact

Imagine going back 1,000 years ago to the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. At that time, the area was inhabited only by Native Americans. Tank Baird of Williamsport holds a piece of pottery which he and members of the North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for PA Archeology found at the dig site at Canfield Island recently. The artifact was the top rim of

The National Road by Motorcycle

Sunburned, rain whipped and with really bad hair (I was sporting the Don King look) my wife Anita and I recently rode into Washington, Pennsylvania in the early evening. We were only 20 or 30 miles short of our destination of Wheeling, West Virginia, but I promised at one point during the ride that we would go no further that day. The main reason was that my normally sweet

Go to Top