|19 November 2003
Native artefacts found at Iroquois
The find of an arrowhead on land intended for the development of a high school’s athletic fields has led to the discovery of more than 300 artefacts to date. Archaeologists investigating the site at Iroquois, East Aurora, NY (USA) have made significant finds: “Enough to require more extensive digging before the place gets torn up by construction,” according to Dr. Karen Niemel of Panamerican Associates, who have been conducting the environmental investigation required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
The flint arrowhead and flint shards unearthed in late September point to prehistoric occupation, with the arrowhead dated to around 1500 BCE. “Our current hypothesis places occupants in the Archaic Period of Indian history, between 800 and 1500 BCE, before pottery was invented,” says Niemel. The rarest find is a piece of quartzite that had to have been transported from the Manitoulen Islands in Canada. “We can tell it was worked by human hands, and had some kind of value. It might have belonged to a shaman.”
The site’s significance is causing problems for the School Board. The second stage of the investigation will require the excavation of 11 of the site’s 22 acres to determine whether the property should be included on Registers of Historic Places, at a cost of $24,000 to the school district. Seeking a compromise, Board members have commissioned a topographical map that would identify how leveling for the fields could be carried out without damaging archaeologically important areas. But if the School Board are unable to re-design the project to integrate the new use with archaeologists guidelines, the options for use of the property will be limited – if compromise fails a phase three investigation costing about a quarter of a million dollars would force the project to be abandoned.
Source: East Aurora Advertiser (13 November 2003)
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