Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rumblings of important events - The Turner Falls Rock Piles

Some years ago, during planning for an airport extension in Turner Falls, MA, a survey found a rock pile site. Since the extension involved Federal funds, the Native Americans had to be consulted and they objected to the extension because of the presence of the rock piles. This is something that might not have happened a few years ago and it created an opposition between the Narragansett Indians and the FAA. I am not sure if NAGPRA was invoked.

I am told by Tim Fohl that the National Park Service (NPS), in Washington, has been discussing this with Doug Harris of the Narragansetts and possibly also our favorite archeologist Curtis Hoffman, and that people in the NPS watched Ted Timreck's Hidden Landscape Film (click here) and somehow got interested. They contacted the Massachusetts State Archeologist, Brona Simon, and asked her about the rock piles. According to the story, she told the NPS people that rock piles were of agrarian nature and of no interest. They asked her for her references and, when she gave them, reviewed those references and either concluded they were invalid or that they did not support Brona's conclusions. So now the NPS is supporting site preservation at Turner Falls and has, I guess, finalized the discussion with the FAA, setting a precedent for government agencies cooperating in protecting rock pile sites. There was even mention of an interpretive center at Turner Falls. Great!

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