| 3 December 2009
Native American artifacts unearthed in Rhode Island
The discovery of Native American artifacts dating back thousands of years - plus the likelihood that there are many more beneath the streets of neighborhoods - have stalled an effort to bring sewers to the coastal area in Rhode Island (USA). Archaeologists retained by the Warwick Sewer Authority have been unearthing a variety of artifacts in test trenches for more than three years and recently issued a report stating that the Mill Cove area was probably home to generations of Native Americans, with artifacts from about 3,000 years ago.
Given those findings and the need for far more extensive archaeological study before any sewer construction could begin, the WSA is exploring less-disruptive engineering methods while other city officials say that sewers may be out of the question for the neighborhoods just north of Warwick Neck. According to reports from Alan Leveillee of Public Archaeology Laboratory Inc., test trenches have revealed ceramic chards, tools, human bone fragments, pot molds and more.
WSA Director Janine Burke noted that the city and the WSA recognize the importance of the artifacts and are staying in contact with the federal Environmental Protection Agency as it negotiates with the Narragansett Indians about the historical significance of the area and what construction work could be done there.
John Brown, historical preservation officer for the Narragansett Indians, said that the cove and adjacent coastal land around Old Mill Brook was clearly a significant site in Native American history. The artifacts indicate that the area probably had multiple uses - including shellfishing, agriculture, living areas and ceremonial grounds.
Source: The Providence Journal (24 November 2009)
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