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Ephrata Cloister’s Glass Trumpet is likely “one of a kind”

May 3, 2016

Filed under Collections, Exhibits, Pennsylvania Treasures

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Ephrata Cloister's Glass Trumpet

In 1995, an archaeological investigation unearthed this glass trumpet from an abandoned clay borrow pit at Ephrata Cloister.

It’s not often that an archaeological find is classified as “one of a kind.” However, a glass trumpet discovered in Pennsylvania merits such a distinction.

Archaeological investigations have been conducted at Ephrata Cloister, an unusual German religious commune founded in 1732 in Lancaster County, since 1993. In 1995, this unique artifact was unearthed from a deep refuse layer in an abandoned clay borrow pit.

After nearly a year of research, the object was positively identified as a natural trumpet – it lacks valves or slides – and declared to be the only one of its type known in North America. The discovery raises many perplexing questions. Perhaps a gift to the Cloister but judged by leaders to be “too worldly,” it was placed in an open trash pit. The trumpet has been painstakingly conserved and is now on exhibit at Ephrata Cloister.

This entry originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage.


About Pennsylvania Treasures:
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission houses artifacts hailing from all eras of the commonwealth’s past. These objects represent Pennsylvania arts, culture, history, sciences, business and agriculture. PHMC curators continue to research the stories behind many of these rarely exhibited artifacts and works of art. We are sharing these Pennsylvania Treasures with the public through weekly updates.