New Research on the Archaic Period in the Northeast: The Past 20 Years

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Research in the Northeast over the past 20 years has contributed a wealth of new data and insights into Archaic Period lithic technologies and settlement patterns using interdisciplinary approaches and collaborative efforts among archaeologists, Native American tribes, geologists, geomorphologists, chemists, and paleoecologists to name a few. These new applications are allowing us to gain a better understanding of human agency on the landscape on a small-scale, local level, and a refinement of large-scale, multi-regional level models. New data from Archaic sites in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York are presented to highlight what we knew then, what we know now, and what it is we still want to know

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  • Documents (10)

  • Archaic Estuarine Resource Use in the Lower Hudson Valley: New Information from the Old Place Neck Site, Staten Island, New York. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ora Elquist.

    Models of estuarine resource use in the Lower Hudson Valley, particularly fishing, have typically been based on a limited set of archaeological materials and ethnohistoric information. Key issues include early evidence of estuarine resource use, the range of resources exploited, and their role in settlement and subsistence patterns. Recent investigations at the Old Place Neck Site involved using various residue analyses that contributed important new information beyond what artifacts and...

  • Coastal Dynamics and Site Formation: A look at the Archaeological Deposits of Coastal RI after Hurricane Sandy (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dawn Beamer. Joseph N. Waller, Jr..

    The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the southern New England coast has brought attention to the delicate nature of our coastal landscapes. Just as we are beginning to utilize new insights into climate change for urban (re)development, we must also consider coastal archaeological sites at risk in areas of high erosion. The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) surveyed 28.2 km of Rhode Island's coastline to evaluate the effects of Hurricane Sandy on coastal archaeological sites. Using GIS, PAL...

  • Community Connections from Archaic to Present in Southeastern Massachusetts: Insights from Halls Swamp and Beyond (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Erin Flynn. Dianna Doucette.

    The Halls Swamp Site represents a newly identified Middle and Late Archaic multi-component occupation in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Community interest and insight in archaeology through the local historical commission, along with dedicated Native American monitors, prompted a professional archaeological survey resulting in an overwhelming municipal response to the importance of preserving a unique cultural landscape. The Halls Swamp Site is also yet another piece of an ever...

  • Evaluating Archaic Period Settlement and Subsistence Patterns in Relation to Ecosystem Dynamics in New England (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dianna Doucette. Elizabeth Chilton. Katie Kirakosian. Deena Duranleau. David Foster.

    This paper summarizes preliminary data and interpretations of Archaic Period land use patterns in relation to environmental dynamics within Massachusetts. This analysis is a component of a larger NSF-funded research project intended to analyze the drivers of and responses to ecosystem dynamics in the New England region. This project aims to better understand the dialectical relationship among human activity (fire, land clearance, horticulture), vegetational dynamics, and climate. The following...

  • Herring, Rattlesnakes and More: Recent Research on the Late Archaic in Southwestern New Hampshire (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Goodby.

    Sites in Swanzey and Hinsdale, New Hampshire illustrate the dynamism of the Late Archaic period in the Connecticut River drainage of southwestern New Hampshire. Longstanding economic patterns centered around the hunting of timber rattlesnakes at the Wantastiquet Mountain site and the harvesting of anadromous fish at the Swanzey Fish Dam begin during this period, establishing practices that continue throughout the Woodland and even survive the tumult of the early decades of European...

  • Lithic Variation and Tool Technology at the East Pasture Site, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristen Jeremiah.

    In 2003 the Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) completed survey and data recovery excavations at the East Pasture Site, located immediately east of Menemsha Pond on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The investigations revealed a multi-component site dating from the Early Archaic to Late Woodland/Contact Period, and recovered a total of 19,679 artifacts and 24 cultural features. The artifact assemblage was dominated (99%) by lithics, including debitage, projectile points, groundstone...

  • Lives as Lived in the Archaic: A Human Agency Perspective (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Cross.

    Archaeological fieldwork in the Northeast over the last 20 years has resulted in a significant increase in the number of known pre-Contact sites with radiocarbon-dated components; we no longer speculate on whether or not people occupied the region during the Early and Middle Archaic periods. However, the emphasis has largely been on fitting new data into an existing framework of anthropological and evolutionary generality, rather than on exploring the historical specificity of the archaeological...

  • Small Stemmed in the Northeast: Technology and Cultural Continuity in the Late Archaic (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Donta.

    Small Stemmed projectile points were made and utilized across a wide area of eastern North America, and are one of the most frequent point types found in Archaic contexts in New England. Recent excavations have shed new light on associations with features, dated contexts, and other artifact types. This paper looks at radiocarbon dating of Small Stemmed features across southern New England to document the connections between this point type and others during this complex time period. These...

  • A Snook Kill Phase Site in Marshfield, Massachusetts (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brian Jones. Brianna Rae.

    Archaeological and Historical Services Inc. recently excavated a rich Snook Kill phase site in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Dated features and diagnostic tools from the site indicate a radiocarbon age of 3500 years ago. Artifacts were recovered beneath a horizon of peat that had formed over the past 1500 years in this near-coastal setting. The strikingly pristine site documents a complete lithic artifact production, use and discard sequence, from the reduction of rhyolite cobbles into carefully...

  • Undiscovered Country: Preliminary Results of Eleven New Sites Identified in the Susquetonscut Brook Valley, Eastern Connecticut, USA (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Ort. Dianna L. Ducette.

    PAL, Inc (the Public Archaeology Laboratory) conducted archaeological investigations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island in preparation for upcoming modifications to an existing pipeline. The project in particular crossed large areas of Eastern, Central and Western Connecticut that have not previously been systematically surveyed. This paper will focus on those sites identified in Eastern Connecticut, specifically those found along the Susquetonscut Brook, a tributary of the...