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New Paleo-Indian site discovered

August 04, 2010
JEFFERSON — Another Paleo-Indian site was recently discovered on the northern end of Route 115A not far from previously well-documented sites.

State archeologist Dr. Richard "Dick" Boisvert and a dozen volunteers spent three-and-a-half days dropping in 90 shovel test pits (STPs) and found two small "hotspots."

"They are good enough for me to bring back the State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP) field school next summer," Dr. Boisvert reported. "We found a channel flake, small gray scraper, and a fragment of what I believe to be a fluted point. Although it is pretty well beat up, it looks pretty good."

Fluted points were made some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago as the glaciers of the last Ice Age melted by early Native American people to serve as one of their hunting tools. These chipped stone points have a symmetrical outline, were carefully manufactured, and were finished by removing a single long parallel-sided flake or "flute" from one or both sides.

If plans do work out to hold a SCRAP field school in Jefferson, it likely would be held in the last two weeks of June and all of July and be made up of three two-week sessions.

Students who attend the SCRAP field school can arrange to earn college credits through Plymouth State University.

Dr. Boisvert spent time in Jefferson over several summers in the late 90s. The Israel River complex sites on which he and his nearly all-volunteer crew discovered considerable evidence of the presence of early nomadic hunters has been preserved in perpetuity as an archeological preserve. In 1998, The Archaeological Conservancy bought the 72-acre Nevers Site, also known as Jefferson II.

On its website the Conservancy's description reads: "Nevers is the first confirmed Paleo-Indian site in northern New Hampshire and one of the largest. Clovis (fluted) spear points have been found at the site. Limited excavations indicate that the Nevers site would likely have been a tool manufacturing area, where hunters may have stayed and returned over the course of hundreds of years. At least nine fluted points as well as numerous stone tools and channel flakes have been uncovered."

Dr. Boisvert and his SCRAP volunteers have sought Paleo-Indian artifacts at various sites in Jefferson, Randolph, Shelburne, Berlin, Colebrook and points north.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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