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8 November 2010
10,000-year-old camp site unearthed along USA/Canada border

For the last several weeks a team of archaeologists has been gathering and collecting artifacts along the banks of the Saint Croix River. The property is currently owned by the federal government and rests behind the U.S. Customs Port of Entry in Forest City, Maine (USA). Northeast Archaeology Research Center was hired as a subcontractor for US Customs and Border Protection to recover artifacts at the site.
     "We're excavating the remains of a small sort of encampment maybe where a family stopped over for a couple of nights made some stone tools and what we're finding our those stone tools and chips from stone tool making," says Dr. Cowie, the director of Northeast Archaeology Research Center. The artifacts are from a period known as the Paleo-Indian period which followed the last Ice Age in North America.
     Her team found artifacts known as flakes, which are stone chippings or shavings that are the by-products of making spearheads and other stone tools. They also found some tools including a "graver" which was used to make holes in bones or shells.  "The materials that Native Americans used for stone tools are sort of distinctive. It's just not any sort of rock it's not granite typically, but it's stone that would break in a certain way that would allow spearheads to be made and other scraping tools," Dr. Cowie explained.
     US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) required that this dig be conducted and also to have these artifacts recovered before it could move ahead with a planned renovation of the Forest City Port of Entry. Dr. Cowie says her team will bring the artifiacts to her lab in Farmington, where they will analyze them and produce a report for CBP and the state. She says the site has already been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and she noted that the artifacts will likely go to the Maine State Museum.

Edited from WCSH6 (23 October 2010)

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