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24 January 2004
Ancient American Indian settlement unearthed

The discovery of a possible American Indian settlement as much as 7,500 years old has halted work on a new water treatment plant in Norwell, Massachusetts (U.S.A.). Workers have found about 38 tools and stone chips used for making and repairing tools, as well as a hearth and a storage pit, at the site on South Street near Third Herring Brook
     Lauren J. Cook, senior archaeologist on the team that surveyed the area, said it was unusual to find 'features' of civilizations, like the hearth and the stone pit, so early in their survey. "There are portions of the site beneath the surface that are not disturbed," said Cook. "It's pretty clear that this site offers the possibility of radiocarbon dating, which can help to better define the period."
     The tools are characteristic of the Late Archaic and Middle Archaic periods of the Holocene Epoch, and are between 3,000 to 7,500 years old, Cook said. Artifacts from the Late Archaic period have been found in Norwell before.
     Archaeologists will excavate some portions of the new site, as well as continue their surveys on the original site. If they uncover more artifacts at the original site, the Massachusetts Historical Commission could request a complete study. Water superintendent John McInnis said that the treatment plant would be moved to another water department-owned site nearby.

Sources: Associated Press, Herald Tribune (22 January 2004)

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