Documenting Inter-Site Functional and Chronological Variability: Troutbrook Valley

    ACS performed a Phase II intensive archaeological survey on two of five prehistoric sites recorded during a Phase I reconnaissance survey of the Troutbrook Valley property in western Connecticut. The two sites were recorded in the heart of the core area exhibiting a high score as determined by a statistical prehistoric landscape sensitivity model created and employed by ACS. These sites were subjected to Phase II testing in order to evaluate their integrity, stratigraphic setting, areal extent, chronological setting, and functional nature.

Proposed settlement pattern for the Troutbrook Valley area. Satellite task sites surround a base where lithic procurement and habitation camp sites were occupied on a seasonal basis.

    Materials from one site included a Lamoka projectile point and a knife close in form to a Brewerton eared point. Charcoal from a hearth or roasting pit feature exposed in one of the excavation units generated a radiocarbon date of 2,800+60 years ago indicating an occupation of the site towards the end of the Terminal Archaic period. A different portion of the same site contained an abundance of quartz cores and core fragments, as well as other debitage related to the initial procurement and reduction of cobbles from a nearby stream. The cores display a variety of reduction strategies likely related to variability encountered within this material type which was quite difficult to work. Lesser amounts of chert at the site represent the middle to end of the lithic reduction stream, suggesting that as an exotic material, chert was imported to the region in partly finished form (i.e. blanks and preforms).

Projectile points from one locus indicate a long, albeit intermittent use of the site (left). The quartz cores from another locus attributed to the Terminal Archaic period (ca. 3,700 to 2,700 years ago) show a variety of reduction strategies which were necessary given the difficulty of working quartz as a lithic raw material (right).

    The other site in this area contains a variability of projectile point forms spanning a time range from the Early or Middle Archaic to the Middle or Late Woodland period (minimally 6,000 to 2,000 years ago), including Stanly bifurcate, Sylvan side-notched, cf. Orient Fishtail, and Jack's Reef Pentagonal forms. There was a general lack of features or evidence of intra-site variability in this area, despite the wide range of projectile points representing long-term seasonal use of the site. Thus the two sites differ considerably even though close in proximity, with one focussing on the initial procurement of locally available quartz during the Late to Terminal Archaic period, while the other exhibits a focus on maintaining hunting equipment during a longer time frame. The two sites contain a moderate density of material and features with the capacity to add new information regarding quartz reduction strategies and continuity of settlement behavior through time.

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