Marienville, PA — Archaeologists with the Allegheny National Forest researching the Iroquois Indians’ remote and legendary Catawba Path continue their appraisal of two Iroquois forts located on a high Pennsylvania plateau, the “Big Level”, near the Forest County village of Russell City.Â The ruins lie in proximity to the presumed Path corridor.Â Forest Service archaeologist Amanda Glaz gives a 14th century date for the forts, which consist of earthworks today but in their era of use featured pointed logs arranged in stockade fashion.
Much of the Catawba Path remains unknown because the Iroquois built it as a long-distance path that breached distracting stream systems, following high ground far from future European settlement. The two forts, discovered in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively, remain in deep forest, unknown to the public.
The Iroquois focused much activity close to the Catawba Path, which ran far enough south that it was used to conduct raids on the Catawba tribe of the Carolina region. Since the forts lie near the presumed corridor of the path, they may have had the function of repelling counterattacks coming from the south.
The ruins remain unaltered by interpretation or signs. Campers and other outdoors people share the Allegheny Plateau with them in a rare parallel existence.