New England’s submerged pre-Contact history: identifying an intact Archaic site in Salem, Massachusetts

Author(s): Kerry Lynch

Year: 2015


A portion of Salem Harbor in Massachusetts was investigated during a cultural resource management project in 2009/2010. The underwater reconnaissance included a remote sensing survey using a Klein 3.5 kHz sub-bottom profiler. An acoustic basement was recognized at approximately two meters below the sea bed, and was hypothesized to be an organic layer potentially representative of a buried land surface below marine sediment. Vibratory cores were used to ground truth the potential buried land surface. Interestingly, the testing identified three different horizons representing unique micro-environments around the two meter mark. One horizon was an intact, buried land surface that had been aerially exposed prior to post-glacial sea level rise. The stratigraphic profile of the land surface showed a layer of salt marsh peat with underlying terrestrial A and B horizons. Two horizons were AMS dated, the overlying peat and a B deposit containing lithic debitage, charcoal, and botanicals. The peat was dated to 4490 +/- 40 rc B.P. and charcoal from the B horizon was dated to 5750 +/- 40 rc B.P. This presentation will include an analysis of the intact site and the surrounding micro-environments. Additional work is planned, and schedule permitting, the preliminary results will be discussed.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

New England’s submerged pre-Contact history: identifying an intact Archaic site in Salem, Massachusetts. Kerry Lynch. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394976)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;