New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

Crane Hook Saga in
"Delaware's Buried Past", C. A. Weslager, 1944, Rutgers, p105 - 121

Workers digging the foundations in 1882 for the Lobdell Car Wheel Works in Crane Hook found a cache of >60 argillite blades. These "quarry blanks" must have been imported into the area and been buried waiting a future re-working into hunting blades. The stone is not found in Delaware.

Relic hunters later found in the plowed fields of the Crane Hook area thousands of items: arrowheads, spearheads, knives, scraping tools, and axes, but only a few potsherds.

The Archaeological Society of Delaware in 1939 excavated a 4' by 4' by 50' trench in the Crane Hook area. Amongst the screenings were at least 5 wheelbarrow loads of fractured stone fragments of both local and exotic stones. Hundreds of arrowheads were found as well as hammer stones, scraping tools and knives. There were no remains of house supports or graves, but there were numerous shallow fire pits.

They concluded that the site was a large hunting and fishing camp occupied only at certain times of the year, Agriculture was not practiced but hunting tools were made in abundance. There are no references that the Indians ocuppied the site after the 1600's, so it is assumed to be prehistoric.

During the dig, workers were excavating for the industrial buildings that would soon cover the site. They discovered human remains: a total of 11 graves, including buttons for knee breeches, coffin nails. A stone taken from the site and stored at the nearby Marine Terminal was "In Memory of Samuel Watson who departed this Life December 16, 1813 aged 32 years." At the time this area and a nearby house were owned by the Aldrich[/Alricks] family, and had probably been used as a family graveyard since 1751. Peter Sigfredus Aldrich bought the property in 1751 and built a house (with the renovation date of 1785 under the gables) that was still visible in 1944.