Swart Collection

Trade Beads

The New York State Museum curates the largest series of archaeological collections from Mohawk Iroquois sites in the world. One of these collections – the Swart family collection – was assembled during the 20th century by three generations of the Swart family, all of whom had a passion for archaeology.  At the age of eight, Joel Swart found his first artifact and began collecting on his sister’s farm.  His son, John, became involved with the Van Epps-Hartley chapter of the NYS Archaeological Association and worked as a federally-funded WPA archaeologist in the 1930s and 1940s.  John’s son, Jan, devoted his life to documenting archaeological sites in eastern New York.  The collection they assembled with help from their family and friends represents hundreds of sites throughout the Mohawk Valley, and provides a basis for ongoing research into the pre-contact and contact-era Mohawk Iroquois.