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

Author(s): Kerry Lynch

Year: 2015

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Summary

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.

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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)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America