Saturday, May 28, 2016

Into oblivion

     This spring, I returned to several places where I once found arrowheads only to find mountains of dirt and fill and new foundations for new homes. No original ground surface remains. Those sites have been destroyed and are gone forever.
     Most of my arrowheads are from southeastern Massachusetts. This area is being developed at an incredible rate. I realize that at some point I may see houses going up in every place where I once spent hours slowly searching for traces of Stone Age man.
     Last night Dave and I took a short walk by some new foundations in a place that we knew had been documented as a site where artifacts were found in the past. Heaps of fill covered most of the ground and there was only a small area that still looked like the disturbed remnant of what was the original ground surface. Few rocks were visible but Dave spotted this and I was really jealous.

     Developers plan this construction, local politicians approve it, construction workers carry it out. How many of them realize what is lost when places like this are bulldozed? How many would ever care?
     Few archaeologists conduct excavations anymore, preferring to leave sites in the ground for the future. A noble idea- but when the future comes, how many sites will be left?


pwax said...

It is good to let the town Historical Soc. know if you find arrowheads somewhere. Sometimes they are consulted before development projects.

Curtiss Hoffman said...

And also to file a site form with the state historical commission. Yes, they have their faults, but at least if they have a site in their inventories they can request a survey in advance of construction in certain cases (in Massachusetts, on projects which involve public lands, public funds, public permits, or burials).

pwax said...

Much of what we do seems headed for oblivion.