Lithic Scatters and Historic Foundations: Brookfield

    ACS conducted a Phase II intensive archaeological survey on a property in Seymour, Connecticut. The Phase II survey was initiated after ACS had identified both prehistoric and historic components in several areas of the property during a Phase I reconnaissance survey. Identified sites consisted of a small historic foundation, as well as several prehistoric loci to be heavily impacted by the construction of houses.


Historic 'cellar-hole' or stone foundation recorded on the project property.


    The small fieldstone foundation was set into a steep hill slope, with several stone stairs descending into the bottom of a cellar-hole. The structure failed to appear in historic maps, land records, or early historic accounts of the area. Intensive subsurface testing included judgmental shovel tests and full excavation units inside and outside the foundation. While these tests revealed relatively undisturbed stratigraphic profiles, they were devoid of cultural material which could further reveal the nature or chronological setting of the structure. It was therefore recommended that the site be excluded from further conservation efforts.


    The prehistoric site on the opposing side of a perennial stream was also identified in an area to be heavily developed. Intensive systematic shovel tests were employed in order to identify the extent of materials across space, while several full excavation units were placed in areas yielding the highest density of material in order to evaluate detailed aspects of stratigraphy, integrity, and other site characteristics. Phase II tests revealed a moderate density of lithic debitage clustered in several distinct loci. The lithic assemblage largely consisted of quartz debitage representing much of the lithic reduction stream, including cores, primary elements, tertiary flakes, and biface preform rejects. The density, distribution, and type of lithic material represented, and the general lack of lithic tools or other traces of cultural material, suggests multiple episodes of lithic procurement and reduction. The site, in which temporary occupation targeted the procurement of locally available quartz cobbles for initial processing, represents the most common type of prehistoric site in the region, and ultimately failed to reveal more significant information regarding past human behavior. ACS was therefore able to confidently recommend that this site also be dismissed from further conservation efforts.


    This project demonstrates the value of a typical multi-phase survey in which an initial phase of testing is designed to merely note the possibility for the existence of potentially significant cultural resources, while Phase II testing is designed to evaluate those resources with respect to aspects of integrity, material density, and the ability of sites to add new information to the archaeological record. This ultimately translates into a reduced cost for the client.


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