Construction workers building a new roundabout in Massachusetts are discovering the remains of a village from 8,000 to 10,000 years old
- A Northampton road crew who built a new roundabout found old artifacts
- They found spearheads, knives, stone tools, fire pits and more
- The artifacts date from a period in American history about which little is known
While they were working to find space for a new roundabout, construction workers made a surprising discovery in the small town of Northampton in Massachusetts.
Instead of dirt and rocks, they found spearheads and stone tools dating back to 8,000 to 10,000 years, a period in North American history about which relatively little is known.
After discovering the artifacts, the city hired an excavation company, Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc. to thoroughly examine the soil.
Construction workers working on a roundabout in Northampton, Massachusetts, have discovered artifacts that point to the remains of an 8,000-year-old village
In the course of the two-year excavation, the archaeologists made a number of promising discoveries. In addition to the stone tools and spearheads, they found knives, fire pits, and raspberry and acorn seeds that had been preserved by char.
Researchers think the findings indicate a temporary village site that could have been used for at least two seasons.
David Leslie of AHS described artifacts from that period as & # 39; incredibly rare & # 39 ;.
"This is a site of regional importance to understand that period," he said The Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The findings may provide clues as to how North America was made more habitable after the end of the last ice age, when the region was covered with thick boreal forests that border the massive ice sheets that cover Canada and parts of what is now the northern United States.
WHEN DO PEOPLE ARRIVE IN NORTH AMERICA?
It is generally accepted that the earliest settlers from what is now Russia crossed to Alaska via an old land bridge over the Bering Strait that was submerged at the end of the last ice age.
Issues such as whether there were one or more founders when they arrived, and what happened after, have been the subject of extensive debate.
The earliest evidence of human settlers on the continent dates from about 14,000 years ago, with the remains of an ancient village that & # 39; older than Egyptian pyramids & # 39; was found in April 2017.
A recent study with old DNA (six) suggests that people arrived in North America 25,000 years ago (two) before splitting into three native American groups (three and four). The DNA came from a girl who belonged to a group called the & # 39; Ancient Beringians & # 39;
Artifacts discovered at the settlement, found on Triquet Island 310 miles (500 km) northwest of Victoria, Canada, include tools for making fires and fishing hooks and spears from the ice age.
Other research has suggested that people reached North America between 24,000 and 40,000 years ago.
A 24,000-year-old jaw bone from horses, found in a cave in Alaska in January 2017, had traces of stone tools, suggesting that people were being hunted.
A representative of the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head, one of the two federally recognized indigenous groups from Massachusetts, oversaw the work of AHS during the excavation.
The Wampanoag historically lived closer to the coast and Cape Cod, while other groups, namely the Pocomtuc and Nonotuc, lived in and around what is now Northampton.
Since neither is a federally recognized tribe, the Wampanoag will consult the city on their behalf.
Mark Andrews, the Wampanoag observer for the project, said the ever-expanding suburbs made it harder to find such sites to find out more about the history of the region.
"There is less to be found of this stuff because places have been taken and affected," Andrews said.
& # 39; Cultural resources are disappearing rapidly due to land development and land use. & # 39;
& # 39; Cultural resources are disappearing rapidly due to land development and land use & # 39 ;, says Mark Andrews, a Wampanoag observer who advised archaeologists on the Northampton excavation
After the excavation, the city still has plans to pave the site and use it as a roundabout, but some locals insist on maintaining the site.
"It's hard to imagine that such early life was possible here, but here, apparently sustainable, was during those primitive days," wrote John Skibiski, resident of Northampton, in a letter to the Gazette.
"This rare site can be easily saved and saved by maintaining the current lane, but adding an advanced monitored traffic signal, which also yields significant cost savings."
However, Leslie says that since the site has now been fully excavated, there is nothing to save.
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