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16 October 2005
Prehistoric gouging tool found in Maine

Rainville and Michele Mannion had been hoping to plant a spruce tree on the north side of the house they are renovating on Camden Street (Camden, Maine, USA) when they discovered the tool that bears strong likeness to those used by the Red Paint - or Moorehouse - People, named after the archeologist who spent much of the early part of the last century studying this prehistoric population.
     The discovery prompted them to call Bruce Borque, an archeologist at the Maine State Museum. Borque estimated the tool, used for gouging, to be 5,000 years old and wondered if the tool had been left behind at the site by early Red Paint boatbuilders, who had hiked up from the shore to find suitable trees from which to make canoes.
     Red Paint People have been studied for generations by curious and serious historians. Sites have been discovered in Blue Hill, Bucksport, Orland, North Haven and Penobscot and even on Beauchamp Point in Rockport. According to Borque, the Red Paint People primarily lived by the sea and traveled by canoe. They are believed to have occupied Penobscot Bay and the Maine Coast from 4,000 to possibly 8,000 years ago. They are called Red Paint because of the red iron oxide associated with their graves. According to some historians, identical cultures have been found in Norway.
     With rising ocean levels, the sites along the Maine Coast are already submerged or lie precariously close to being washed away. Anyway, Rainville is still holding off on planting the spruce tree and plans to re-examine the soil in the hole to "see if there's anything I missed."

Source: Village Soup (12 October 2005)

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