|15 June 2010
A 12,000-year-old find in New Hampshire
Just beyond the trucks working to build a new school in Keene (New Hampshire, USA) lays the remnants of the life that used to be there thousands of years ago. "The history of Keene says that Native Americans never lived here," said Robert Goodby, a Stoddard Archeologist studying the historic finds at the site of the new Keene Middle School off of Maple Avenue. "And here we have evidence of them living here 12,000 years ago. It's significant because of its age, that it's so undisturbed and the fact that you can stand here 12,000 years later and speculate that this was someone's home for a short period of time based on where the artifacts are coming from."
Goodby is leading a team of archeologists excavating four areas on the site of the new Middle School. The exact location of the dig is being kept secret to prevent looters from desecrating the sites and to preserve the team's own painstaking work which has continued seven days a week for months. The archeologists started out digging in small test areas last fall. Where they found chips of stone, likely from tools, they opened up the area for further exploration.
So far the artifacts have been found in oval clusters. Goodby speculates that these areas were where the people pitched tents or other shelters.
Primarily, the explorers have found a variety of stone tools that would have been used for processing animal hides, such as scraping tools. They've also found tools for making things out of bone and antlers as well as tools for engraving and splitting. But what's even more significant is what the stone tells the archeologists about the people who used them. "We're learning for one thing that they had connections that extended all over Northern New England," Goodby said. "They were getting their stone from quarries as far away as northern Maine. And from sources in far north New Hampshire." He said they may have gotten this by following the caribou migratory routes, as that was their main game animal.
Another exciting find was a stone fireplace that still had remnants of burnt fire wood in it. Next to the hearth, the archeologists also discovered what they believe to be burnt caribou bone. Goodby said testing will be done on the bone to determine the animal and the wood to determine what species of trees were in the area when these people lived there. Goodby said he has two more weeks to gather what he can from the sites before construction on that part of the property continues on the middle school.
Source: Union Leader (10 June 2010)
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