Archaeological dig changing view regarding ancient Native Americans

October 12th, 2008 - 10:59 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 12 (ANI): Excavations at a 7,000-year-old archaeological site in New England, US, have found out that there was a village in the area, which is changing the way historians view the lifestyles of Archaic period (8000 BC 1000 BC) Native Americans. “Since they”ve done some digging, they found that there was a village there, which changes their whole thought process on the early people of this area,” Richard Lang told, the owner of the 14.2-acre waterfront site, told The Times Record. “They used to think Native Americans were just passing through, and now they think there was a settlement here,” he added. According to Arthur Spiess, a senior archaeologist with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Dresden site is “very significant for Maine.” “There are only two other places in New England with village-sized sites from this time period,” he said. “We thought Native Americans lived in small groups moving around the landscape, but it turns out that there’’s probably at least a seasonal large group,” he added. According to documentation filed with Land for Maine’’s Future, the site in Dresden is the largest and most intensively occupied site of its age known in Maine. The site also offered a different vantage point to 7,000 years ago. Since the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago, water levels have risen to conceal what was a distinct elevation drop on this Kennebec River location. When this site was home to a native village, experts suspect a major falls bridged what is now Dresden with Swan Island. “When you”re dealing with people that move around the landscape a lot, in order for them to get together in village-sized groups, they have to have a localized and intense food source, and in this case, the fishery at the falls provided that,” said Spiess. “It’’s predictable in terms of season, and probably came in large quantity,” he added. “We can certainly find out what they were eating, because their trash was discarded in fireplaces and burned bones can be preserved for thousands of years,” he continued. “We already have found sturgeon and striped bass bones at the site, and something like beaver and moose or deer,” he further added. According to Spiess, determining the types of dwellings the natives used at this site would be more difficult, as any evidence of post holes was likely removed when the “top half foot” of ground was plowed during the property’’s subsequent use as farmland. Instead, he said, state archaeologists would map the site using garbage pits and fireplaces, and collect bone remains and period-specific stone tools. (ANI)

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