Middleborough Little League Archaeology Project

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2011

Project Description/Abstract

The Middleborough Little League site is located on three river terraces located north-west of the Nemasket River. I conducted an initial survey at the site in June 1996, followed by BSC archaeological field schools on the third terrace above the river in Fall 1996, Summer and Fall 1998 – 2001, Summer and Fall 2006-2007, and Summer 2008. The site was the locus for prehistoric Native American activity from at least 8,000 years ago to around 1,100 years ago.

In 2006 and 2007, I received matching grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, matched by funds from the BSC Academic Affairs Office, and, in 2008 and 2009, I received two CART Small Grants, to support the outside analysis of materials excavated at the site during previous seasons on the third terrace. These grants, combined, covered the costs of 8 radiocarbon dates, analysis of the edges of about 2,100 stone tools, biological analysis of wood and other organic samples from 68 pit features, soil chemistry analysis of 20 pit features, and pollen analysis of three hearth features. They extended the range of the site’s age by 3,000 years, provided information on subsistence activities, and refined our knowledge of available plant communities in the area.

In 2009 and 2010, fieldwork shifted from the third terrace, for which we have verbal commitments from the Middleborough Little League not to disturb beyond a specified limit, to the first terrace, closer to the Nemasket River. This area was tested to determine whether its contents are similar in age, type, and function to what was already known from the first terrace. While this area is not under immediate threat of construction, there is a power-line which runs through the terrace which may in the future be upgraded to underground fiber-optic cable, and that would certainly be a major disturbance to subsurface archaeological deposits. Excavation here demonstrated that the site did indeed extend into this area, with results comparable in many ways to those from the third terrace.

Work to be Done under the Current Grant:

  • Radiocarbon dating of two charcoal samples extracted from pit features in 2010 will be undertaken by an outside consultant, Geochron Associates in Billerica MA.
  • Using low-power magnification (50x), Susan Jacobucci, use-wear analyst, will examine the edges of approximately 120 edge tools excavated during the 2009-2010 field seasons to determine what their most likely uses were.
  • Pollen analysis of one sample from one pit feature will also be undertaken by Susan Jacobucci, to determine the types of vegetation present at the site.
  • Analysis of macrofossil (visible to naked eye) floral materials from several pit features to determine their taxonomic classification will also be undertaken by Susan Jacobucci.

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