I sent this summary to the NEARA Transit.
Nipsachuck News: Prehistoric human remains have been found during excavation of a rock pile in North Smithfield, RI. NEARA member Dr. Fred Meli, at the invitation of the town's board of selectman, has been conducting an excavation to determine the nature of hundreds of rock piles found on land, known as Nipsachuck. This land has long been remembered by Native Americans as an important battlefield in the King Philips War but it is now the site of a proposed large real estate development. The discovery of human bones disrupts the development plan and also comes with a array of moral issues, including Native American attitudes towards disturbing remains and having them laboratory tested; the increased threat of vandalism by treasure hunters; and (what surely is an old favorite topic among NEARA members) the likelihood that traditional New England academic archeologists will maintain their traditional dis-interest in actual New England archeology.
(1) The Valley Breeze: "Ancient remains of young girl found on Rankin Esate"
Dr. Meli write in comments:
Dear Rock Pilers:
I wanted to post a comment on the issues involved in the Nipsachuck Swamp article of 1/23/08.
The original article was riddled with misinformation and erroneous quotes from me, and I was not at the meeting.
The land where the mounds were investigated is private and I am under a gag order, as well as is the conservation commission on location. The fear is that pot hunters and curiosity seekers will trample over the locale.
I have plans to invite some academics and amatures to the site once the owners feel comfortable. Interestingly enough, I have invited professonials all along but was turned down. As for the moral questions of testing, the remains where scattered over a 10 meter area, when the mound was disrupted by ATV ridres and then dug-up, the bulk of the remains were carried off, what was left was collected and stored for analysis.
I have for a long time with my reputation on the line stated that these features are burials and not fieled clearing piles, or forest cairns.
As I stated in an earlier post, the archaeology speaks for itself.
Dr. Fred Meli.