The NHSM Archaeology Club presents an evening of songs and stories about the Susquehanna River

As a kid growing up on Bald Top Mountain above the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, Van Wagner would look down during times of low water to see a mysterious “V” rising from the bottom, pointing downstream. Later, he learned it was an old eel weir built from stacked river rocks, a simple but effective way to funnel and catch migrating American eels. As the eels swam downstream, the walls of the weir funneled them to a narrow point where they could be captured in traps or speared more easily. Wagner’s own research led him to the startling theory that not only was the weir erected by Native Americans, but that it was perhaps built well before the great pyramids of Egypt.

Eel weirs are only one of the stories Pennsylvania folk singer and environmental science teacher, Van Wagner, will share as he takes us on an unforgettable tour of the Susquehanna River.

For more information about the eel weirs, check out the video Van and his son created:

Van Wagner is an educator.  In the classroom, he teaches Environmental Science at Lewisburg High School.  He has been selected as Conservation Educator of the Year in 2005 from Schuylkill County and in 2007 and 2009 in Union County. In 2012 he was awarded the Sandy Cochran award for natural resource education from the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. In 2015 the Red Cross presented Van with the Robert N. Pursel Distinguished Service Award. Outside of the classroom he educates audiences with his music and programs on Pennsylvania History. He received an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2018 from the Pennsylvania Heritage Songwriting Contest. His music has been featured on the History Channel, WVIA tv, as well as Country Music Television (CMT).  He has released 28 original albums and published a book entitle “Coal Dust Rust and Saw Dust.”  His music and programs not only entertain but inspire audiences to become involved in learning more. 

* Natural History Society of Maryland’s Archaeology Club promotes the value of archaeology in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and surrounding areas. The goal of the Archaeology Club is to educate citizenry in the ethics, methods, and artifact preservation methods of archaeology and how archaeology can be used to document, discover, and promote local history. The Archaeology Club is inclusive to all persons who have an interest in archaeology.
Normally, Club meetings, trips and other activities are open solely to Club Members. However, during COVID, NHSM is opening up this meeting to all, though we are asking for a $5 donation from non-members. If you are an archaeology enthusiast, please consider joining us. You must be a member of NHSM to join any of its clubs. Follow this link to learn more:
The Natural History Society of Maryland is a volunteer-led non-profit organization, so the fee you pay will go directly to support the programs, the nature collections, and the building that make this kind of nature education possible.


  • NHSM Archaeology Club Member : $0
    Follow this link to learn more:
  • Non-Member Suggested Donation : $5
    Follow this link to learn more:
  • Non-Member COVID Relief Option : $0