July 19 2016

Totem Head Found 40 Years Ago in Burlington Still a Mystery Today


Forty years Mike Panico was mucking through a swamp between Route 3A and Fieldstone Drive on a quest to find turtles. What he found instead was a carving that is still a mystery today. 


During his search, which was after a drought in the area, he saw what looked like a head attached to a dead tree. He cut it off and it has been in his family ever since. 


Panico, who now lives in Florida, got curious about the head, which looks like a totem, and says he took it to an archeologist who examined it. The archeologist said that at first blush he believed it was quite old and definitely Native American. Panico is not sure of the archeologist was right or just trying to be knowledgeable, as he only spent a few minutes examining it and it was not his area of expertise. The head weighs about 4.5 lbs. and stands about 10 inches tall.


He decided to send it to the Burlington Historical Society where it is today. 


Society president Mary Nohelty said that members are looking into the mystery, including by sending all the information they have to the Historical American Antiquities in Maryland, but they also want to ask the public’s assistance. 


“The Historical Society, Mr. Panico, and I look forward to any information that you may be able to give us on this very interesting work,” she said. “Maybe you live in this area.  Maybe you are aware of other findings in this area.  Any information you may have will be appreciated.”


Nohelty asks that anyone with information or insight send comments to noheltymkn@verizon.net  or leave a message on the Burlington Historical Society’s Facebook page


The Totem head (courtesy Burlington Historical Society) 



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