Stone Walls of New England

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Stonewalls of New England are rich with history and archeologists are still trying to determine who may have built the first stonewalls or if our concept of when North America was first settled is wrong. Items of stone and metal lead archeologists to believe that the archaic period is when the Northern New England portion of America was first inhabited.

There have been many different types of fences built in New England, natural debris, wood, and stone included. Stemming from these different fence types American ingenuity flourished and inventions arose. Agriculture was a big part of the fencing of America; the cultural differences of the colonists and the Indians also played a big role in the ideas of fencing and laws. Stonewalls are important to our culture as not only North Americans but also as humankind in general.

Overview of the ancient history of New England

The Wisconsin continental ice sheet retreated about 15,000 BC, causing the climate to warm, sea level to rise, and the habitat was changed from tundra to spruce-lichen. The Pleistocene mammals (mastodons, mammoths, and caribou) were attracted to the new habitat, this caused the Paleo-Indians or Big Game hunters to arrive armed with Clovis fluted point projectiles (Salisbury, 1982).

Many sites have been found in New England that shows evidence of tool-making, ritualized inter-band exchanges and other non-hunting activities. By around 8,000 BC, the spruce-lichen forest was mostly replaced by pine and hardwoods, this evolved into other types of food causing the Paleo-Indian era to give way to the early archaic. In New England, early Archaic projectile points were found, these differ from the Paleo-Indian points because the archaic points are generally stemmed and notched for more effective specialized hunting (Salisbury, 1982).

Salvatore Trento tells of one point found in Monhegan, Maine:
A tiny arrowhead or possibly a small dagger was recovered from an excavation of a rubbish heap by the island archeologist. A C14 test of the organic material associated with the deposited metal artifact gave an approximate date of 1800 BC. During the summer of 1975, William Nisbet of the Early Sites Research Society submitted a tiny fragment of the artifact to a laboratory for analysis. The results were shocking. The seemingly insignificant arrowhead was composed of copper in tin. There are no tin deposits in either the eastern of middle states of America. The closest mines are in Bolivia, but these were not worked in 1500 BC. The artifact was found in a trash pile that had lain undisturbed for perhaps over three thousand seven hundred and fifty years.

There have been cairns found in Northern New England that have been dated some two to seven thousand years ago by some unknown prehistoric people. (Trento, 1978). Four miles south of the Merrimack River just outside the town of Andover, Massachusetts, the late archeologist Frank Glynn carried out a detailed examination of a large stone mound complex. Four test trenches were sunk two along the outer margin of the stones and two within the chambers. One of the outer pits had telltale evidence of an occupation site. . A thick layer of black, greasy soil with lots of fired stone present was found beneath an undisturbed layer of dark brown and gray white earth. In essence, what Glynn found was the trash of a group of people who had been living and cooking at the site a long time ago. The other two trenches revealed a combination of stone artifacts and the remains of a chambered burial. All but two of the artifacts were excavated in the burial chamber. They were all made of stone. Included among them were a javelin point, axeheads, an octagonal ball, hammerstones, mauls, a pestle, rectangular pendants, and a polished celt (a hafted axelike stone commonly known as a tomahawk head.). Polished celts are almost invariably more than six thousand years old. In fact, all of the stone material found...
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