Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Native American Site Found

Portion of site where the team has identified a prehistoric Indian site based on stone flakes (contour lines) and pottery (blue dots) recovered from shovel tests. Click on image to enlarge.

We've been cleaning up the catalogue and just beginning the various analyses in preparation for report writing. (Jim's adage: If it isn't properly reported, it isn't archaeology.) I've started off with a spatial analysis of Native American pottery and flaked stone. That means I've been looking at where Indian pottery and the slivers of stone resulting from stone tool-making occur. As you can see from the map, we have a concentration of stone flakes (the contour lines) with a smattering of Indian pottery (the blue dots). I used a computer program to simulate the distribution of flakes across the site based on the number of pieces found in each of the shovel test pits. Shovel test 265 produced the largest number of flakes in this particular area, a total of 13.

There being too few pottery sherds to conduct a similar analysis, I simply color-coded those shovel tests that produced at least one sherd. They likely are related to the flake distribution and, together, the flakes and sherds suggest that we found a Late Woodland (post AD 900) Indian site 50 ft away from the Episcopal Church foundation.

Better yet, this is only one of three prehistoric Indian sites identified as a result of our shovel testing. There is a smaller one to the southwest and a much larger and richer Indian site closer to the river bank.

The analysis of the Indian component of the site does not end here: we will be looking more carefully at the kinds of objects recovered from each of the three sites, including dates of occupation from the pottery and projectile point (arrowhead) styles, distinguishing between tool manufacture and repair, and searching for evidence of food processing and preparation. Keep in mind that each of the three Indian sites lies within, or overlaps, a Colonial or 19th-century site. Busy place, this Port Tobacco.


No comments: