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Archaeologists unearth 10,000 year old camp site along US/Canada border

A team of archaeologists has spent the last several weeks gathering and collecting artifacts along the banks of the Saint Croix River on property owned by the federal government behind the U.S. Customs Port of Entry in Forest City. Dr. Ellen Cowie is director of the Northeast Archaeology Research Center, which was hired as a subcontractor for US Customs and Border Protection to recover artifacts at the site.

Archaeologists sift the dirt in search of stone tools along the banks of the Saint Croix River. "We're excavating the remains of a small sort of encampment maybe where a family stopped over for a couple of nights made some stone tools and what we're finding our those stone tools and chips from stone tool making," Dr. Cowie says the artifacts are from a period known as the Paleo-Indian period following the last Ice Age in North America.

Her team found artifacts known as flakes, which are stone chippings or shavings that are the by-products of making spearheads or other stone tools. They also found some tools including a "graver" which is used to poke holes in bones or shells.

"The materials that Native Americans used for stone tools are sort of distinctive. It's just not any sort of rock it's not granite typically, but it's stone that would break in a certain way that would allow spearheads to be made and other scraping tools," Cowie explained.

Us Customs and Border Protection needed to conduct this dig and have these artifacts recovered before it could move ahead with a planned renovation of the Forest City Port of Entry. Dr. Cowie says her team will bring the artifiacts to her lab in Farmington, analyze them and produce a report for CBP and the state. She says the site has already been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and she says the artifacts will likely go to the Maine State Museum.

Author: Chris Facchini | Source: WCSH6 [October 22, 2010]


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