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Over ninety five percent of the Museum’s North American collection is from Western New York. These materials, from more than 1500 sites (approximately 1,000,000 artifacts), range in age from Late Woodland to historic period (A.D. 700-1700s). A smaller number of North American artifacts are from earlier periods of occupation, as early as Archaic (7000 B.C.). Some artifacts represent groups referred to by archaeologists as the Neutral, Wenro, Erie, and Seneca. The Seneca are the only contemporary Native American group, and they claim lineal relationship to the other groups.

The Museum’s purpose is to continue its established functions such as processing and storing the extensive archaeological collections, providing research materials for various projects (i.e. theses, dissertations), and supplying requests for teaching demonstrations. Since the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) by the United States Congress in 1990, the Museum has had official dealings with several Native American groups as well.