Lamoka is a word that you don’t see used much other than for the lake itself, and the prehistoric archaeological culture found along its shores. Does anyone know where its name came from?
On early maps, including the 1829 Atlas of New York and the 1869 New Map of the State of New York, Lamoka is named Mud Lake, and Waneta Lake to the north is called Little Lake. By 1874, in an atlas of Schuyler County (see more of the 1874 Atlas here), Lamoka Lake appears on the map, although Little Lake is still used for Waneta. In the 1879 book History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins and Schuyler Counties, New York, “Lamoka” is used repeatedly, and Little Lake has become “Wanetta.”
I’m not surprised they changed the name – there are at least 30 other Mud lakes in New York, and Lamoka has a nice sound to it—but I’d like to know where they got the name from.
If anybody knows, or has any clues, please leave a comment!
Protecting archaeological sites that have been preserved by the Archaeological Conservancy requires regular inspection and maintenance. The Lamoka Lake site is still mowed seasonally, as it has been for years. See their website for more on how they maintain their other New York sites.
The first interesting find isn’t an animal bone. This argillite projectile point was mistakenly put in with the animal bones in the field. It’s unusual to find argillite tools at the Lamoka Lake site – most of the Lamoka points at the site are made from Onondaga chert. In the original excavations in the 1920s, however, William Ritchie did identify a single biface made from argillite which, he said, was identical to the argillite found in New Jersey.
It’s been a while since we’ve written anything about the actual archaeology of the Lamoka Lake site, but that’s about to change. I’m starting the identification of a large assemblage of animal bones from the site that hasn’t been studied before. The first step is to get out the bone binders with photocopied and hand-drawn reference material. These are in need of some new binders.
The bone identification guides are also getting pulled out of the bookshelves. Yes, I know there are some duplicates.
The average white-tailed deer killed during the Late Archaic at Lamoka Lake weighed 77 kg, or 170 pounds.
That’s the estimate derived from measuring the astragalus, a bone in the lower leg of white-tailed deer. By the Late Woodland to Protohistoric Period in New York, deer found at the Engelbert Site averaged 64.5 kg, or 142 pounds.
How big was the largest identified deer at Lamoka Lake? Over 155 kg, or 342 pounds.
To learn how these weight estimates were derived, and learn more about deer body size, get the paper: