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Flowing Waters, Passing Time: The Critical Role of Water in Prehistoric and Historic Westchester County New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

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Presentation on theme: "Flowing Waters, Passing Time: The Critical Role of Water in Prehistoric and Historic Westchester County New York City Department of Environmental Protection."— Presentation transcript:

1 Flowing Waters, Passing Time: The Critical Role of Water in Prehistoric and Historic Westchester County New York City Department of Environmental Protection Historical Perspectives, Inc.

2 Archaeological Resources Native Americans lived in what is now Westchester County long before Europeans migrated up the Hudson River. Precontact people, those who lived here before European contact, left a distinct mark on the landscape. In anticipation of the construction of the Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility, in the towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York City studied 67 acres for archaeological resources.

3 3 Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Project Principal Facilities World’s largest UV facility Construction of main UV process building to treat 2,020-mgd from the Catskill and Delaware water supplies Rehabilitation and expansion of existing Shaft 19 accommodates UV facility connections Construction of new centralized Flow Control Structure for Catskill/Delaware water supply Includes demolition and landscaping of the abandoned aerators at Kensico. Project Benefits Improves NYC’s water quality Additional disinfection barrier against pathogens resistant to chlorine Improved flow control and increased operational flexibility Provides a location for future connection by Westchester County Water Users Project Schedule UV Facility construction contracts began in Spring 2006 Bureau of Water Supply Operations began operation of the plant in December 2012 Construction Cost Estimate The estimated cost of the construction at the Catskill/Delaware UV Facility is $1.6 Billion Project Purpose Provide secondary disinfection to target waterborne pathogens Cryptosporidium & Giardia Meet Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD ) Plaque on display at the Ultraviolet Light Disinfection facility.

4 4 Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Project Site UV PROJECT SITE 149-acre parcel divided by Grasslands Road North Parcel Construction site for UV Facility South Parcel Wetland mitigation, to offset loss from construction

5 Historical Occupancy of Native Americans 5 Archaeologists and historians study their relative sites to obtain an understanding of who the natives were and what their lifestyles were like. Before picking up a shovel and trowel, documentary research must be done to find out what is already known about Native Americans in the area, and how a parcel of land has been developed and used historically. When archaeologists completed background research for the site, they found that farmers in the area had been uncovering evidence of Native American use for years.

6 Fragments and Features 6 Unlike the Mayan and Aztec civilizations of Central America, the native northeast civilizations did not construct monumental architecture. In turn, the secrets of their lifestyles lay not within enormous monuments, but literally within the land they once lived on.

7 7 How Were Stone Tools Manufactured? We have to rely on finding relatively small tools and fragments of stone left behind from tool making to reveal where and how people lived. If we’re lucky, we also find “features,” non-portable artifacts like cooking hearths, post holes from structures, or storage pits. The discovery of a multitude flakes and debitage of quartz fragments used for reducing stone into tools told us that Native Americans had once hunted and sharpened their stone tools at the site. However, in order to fully confirm the presence of an archaeological site, professional archaeologists must go out and systematically test the soil with a shovel and screen.

8 8 What Artifacts Have Been Unearthed? A large stone pestle for grinding food, was reported to have been found somewhere on what was once the Hammond farm on or near the UV project site. The discovery of larger artifacts such as a pestle at an archeological excavation hints that the makers of those artifacts were rather settled. Not transported by nomadic tribes, pestles are rather heavy and difficult to move around.

9 9 Were Projectile Points Found Too? Adena Point Broken Stemmed Point When archaeologists walked over the surface of the North Parcel, two projectile points were found on the ground, west of the Mine Brook that runs through the property. Points are often incorrectly labeled as arrowheads. Points often predate the development of the bow and arrow, and were instead hafted onto spears which were thrown over the shoulder. Adena Point, ca to 1200 BP (Before Present) Early Woodland Period Ovoid shape, broad stem; tip likely broken off from hunting impact Broken Stemmed Point (lower portion) May date to Woodland Period

10 10 Screening a Shovel Test Pit Archaeologists locate sites by digging small shovel tests, each about 15x15 inches in size, across all locations that would be disturbed by construction. One test pit is dug every 15 meters, or 50 feet, in a checkerboard pattern. Out of the 704 shovel tests excavated on the North Parcel, precontact artifacts were found in 18. These included flakes, cores from which tools were made, and points. The wide range of projectile point types found on the surface and in shovel tests represented a long period of use.

11 11 Locally Found Stone Quartz Brewerton Side Notched Point – Late Archaic Period ca to 4000 years B.P. Quartz Orient Fishtail Point – Late Archaic Period through Early Woodland Periods ca years B.P. Argillite Madison Point – Late Woodland Period ca B.P. Points were mostly made from locally found stone, like quartz or quartzite, but some were made of more exotic lithics, such as chert. Chert is found to the north so its presence means that either a rare natural chert cobble was found in a streambed or that the raw material was traded or carried by someone that traveled in the north. These points are “diagnostic artifacts,” they can provide a rough age range because archaeologists have found them with charcoal or pottery that can actually be scientifically and securely dated. Once we knew that there were undisturbed Native American artifacts present, we came back to do further testing to determine the size, age, and integrity of each find. These are the data that you need for a site to be considered significant by state and federal standards. More shovel tests and larger Excavation Units were completed.

12 12 Larger Excavation Units This second phase of testing found that the majority of the positive shovel test in the Phase IB study had no significant deposits around them. In other words, the projectile points and tools were stray finds and were probably lost while hunting or discarded when they were broken.

13 13 Discarded Broken Point Points were typically abandoned if they were broken on impact and could not be repaired or reworked into another tool. This second phase of testing found two intact concentrations of artifacts, Locus 1 and Locus 2. Together, these sites were officially called the NYC DEP Water Treatment Precontact Archaeological Site.

14 14 Data Recovery Since the artifacts at the site were from undisturbed datable deposits, Data Recovery – or full scale excavation – was warranted.

15 15 Locus 1 Block excavation units, additional shovel tests, and finally the stripping of topsoil and the excavation of test units to look for features was completed. 242 shovel tests and 23 excavation units were excavated across Locus 1, which was situated at the top of a ride to the west of Mine Brook.

16 16 Location of Excavation Units and Shovel Tests In addition, after hand excavations were completed, trenches were carefully excavated by a backhoe to remove the uppermost plow zone – the level disturbed by historical plowing that is typically about 10 inches deep – in the hopes of revealing features in the undisturbed soil beneath.

17 17 Excavation Trenches Where soil stains representing features were found, they were excavated and the data was collected. For example, in one of the trenches there was a ring of stones that looks to be of Native American origin.

18 18 What Did We Learn From this Site? However, when it was further examined, it became clear that it was a historical period drainage feature. Interestingly, some Native American artifacts – namely small flakes from tool manufacture – were found within it, meaning that the nearby soils were mixed into it when the feature was created. What did we learn from this site? Quite a bit – mostly from the lithics. After finishing up all the analysis of tools, soils, and collecting radiocarbon dates, here is what we found…

19 19 Artifacts Recovered from Excavation ARTIFACTTOTAL COUNTPERCENTAGE OF ENTIRE ASSEMBLAGE Quartz flakes146 Quartz shatter98 Quartz blocks1 Quartz bifaces (or frags)3 Quartz scrapers1 Quartz utilized flakes1 Quartz knife1 Quartz Biface/Probable Levanna ( B.P. Middle-Late Woodland) 1 Total Quartz 25081% Slate flakes7 Total Slate 72.3% Quartzite flakes8 Quartzite utilized flakes1 Total Quartzite 92.9% Chert shatter5 Chert flakes32 Chert scrapers1 Chert Untyped triangle (Woodland) 1 Chert Kanawha/Neville like point (possibly 8, B.P. Middle Archaic – disturbed context) 1 Chert Levanna point ( B.P. Middle- Late Woodland) 1 Total Chert % Siltstone flakes 2 Total Siltstone 2.6% Argillite Madison Point (1, B.P. Late Woodland) 1 Total Argillite 1.3% TOTAL ALL LITHICS % Artifacts recovered from Locus 1 during all the phases of excavation included: two projectile points, two bifaces, an ovate knife, a scraper, a retouched and utilized flake, and 204 pieces of debitage – again, the debris left from reducing a natural stone and rendering it ready for stone tool production. A high percentage of quartz artifacts indicated a continued preference for reducing and working this locally available stone. The lower percentage of non-local lithics such as slate, chert, siltstone, and argillate, represented only limited tool reworking and minimal, if any, primary reduction of these foreign stones. Only five pieces of chert shatter were found, yet three chert points were recovered. This discrepancy means that the points were not being made on site, but were made elsewhere and being retargeted and reworked as needed. Projectile point types from Locus 1 suggest that it may have been occupied by as early as the Middle Archaic period – or 8000 years ago, although the one point that dates to that time was mixed in with modern field trash. Clearly, the more recent Woodland period is more heavily represented. The vast majority of artifacts were recovered from the upper plow zone, further suggesting that if there was a much older occupation episode on the site, it was relatively minimal. An extensive collection of artifacts in the subsoil below the plow zone would have supported an older site occupation.

20 20 Diagnostic Artifacts Chert Levanna Point, ca to 600 B.P. Middle – Late Woodland Period Quartz Late-Stage Biface, ca to 1600 B.P., probably a Levanna point in process This mottled dark gray chert Levanna triangle was a complete and finished point, having no evidence of basal grinding. The only preparation for hafting only a spear appears to have been where broad flakes were removed from either side of the base in order to thin it. The point is considered to have been finished and was probably attached to a haft prior to being discarded or lost. Pale olive quartzite oval knife Banded, dark gray quartzite knife; retouched along one of its margins for cutting Chert stemmed Kanawha/Neville- like point, possibly 8000 to 6000 B.P. Middle Archaic Period A crude, relatively thick early stage biface fragment had clearly been broken during the manufacturing process. The tool-knapper removed a limited number of flakes around the perimeter to create an even margin before it had broken and then discarded.

21 21 Locus 1, Feature J Several Native American features were found at Locus 1. Feature J, a dark reddish soil stain that looked like the remnants of a fire pit, produced four pieces of what appear to be charred nutshell. A radiocarbon date of 300 ± 40 B.P. was obtained from the feature, which would place it roughly in the European Contact period in the Northeast. The presence of Middle to Late Woodland material on site coupled with Feature J dating to the Contact period suggests that Locus 1 may have been revisited or sequentially occupied by Native Americans during these periods. Charred fragments of possible nut shell also suggest the likelihood of a fall to early winter encampment, with nut collection and processing being a targeted goal. Alternatively, the Contact period fire pit may represent an early European or Colonial- related deposit associated with the site’s use as an agricultural field, not no historical artifacts were recovered from the feature that would support this scenario.

22 22 Distribution of Lithics - Points, Debitage and Flakes The study of the stone tools and debris from stone tool production AND reduction showed that informal and expedient tools for immediate use were being made in discrete locations. Expedient tools are often used once and then discarded, making them difficult to identify in the archaeological record. The types of flakes and debris left behind when they are made provide telltale markers of their use. Stone tool cultures often take advantage of expedient tools, using nothing more than an unmodified piece of debitage having a sharp edge suitable for the task at hand. A variety of activities can be performed in this way. Also, locally acquired cobbles of quartz and chert, available in the subsoil or streambeds may have been occasionally reduced at the site for the production of these types of tools. This is indicated by the small quantities of debris from either stone type showing evidence of being made from cobbles.

23 23 The assortment of tools types recovered suggests that Locus 1 represents a short- term habitation site, where a wide range of domestic activities were carried out. The moderate density of artifacts present suggests the site was a temporary or seasonal camp, which may have been reoccupied over time. The lack of key artifacts and features that are usually found at long term village sites – such as storage pits, pottery, hammer stones, mortars, and pestles – also suggests that Locus 1 was used as a short-term hunting and food processing encampment, perhaps revisited seasonally as weather conditions favored. We say this with one caveat: one has to be careful to make this conclusion based on negative evidence, as artifact collectors have often removed large and more recognizable artifacts – such as the stone pestle – especially when they are visible in plowed fields. Local farmers typically have a large collection of artifacts from their property. The precontact site was probably reused to take advantage of game animals (hunting) as well as woodland, wetland, and riverine resources located in the immediate vicinity.

24 24 Locus 2 The site was identified slightly downhill and northeast of Locus 1, also on a terrace overlooking the Mine Brook.

25 25 Location of Excavation Units and Shovel Tests This locus was much smaller, so only 46 shovel tests, 6 excavation units, and two plowed transects were completed here. The Phase III data recovery confirmed the limited horizontal distribution of this lithic scatter.

26 26 Artifacts Recovered ARTIFACTTOTAL COUNTPERCENTAGE OF ENTIRE ASSEMBLAGE Quartz flakes 6 Quartz shatter 6 Quartzite flakes 1 Quartz bifaces 1 Total Quartz % Chert flakes 14 Chert tool (Projectile Point Tip) 1 Total Chert % TOTAL ALL LITHICS 29100% Locus 2 had a relatively small number of lithics that indicate equal use of both quartz (local) and chert (from a distance), although the way in which these two lithics were used differs. The presence of quartz flakes and shatter indicate primary working of locally available cobbles, probably for expedient tool use. Chert, in contrast, was not reduced from a cobble at Locus 2. Flakes found were from later stages of tool sharpening and reworking. Chert was probably fashioned into a point elsewhere, and refined on site. While there were no tools found here, there was one black chert flake and a black chert point tip. The flake could have been left over from reworking the chert point after it had broken. We will never know as the bottom half of the point was not found. Like Locus 1, the upper plow zone was mechanical stripped in trenches to reveal buried features. Several historical drainage features were found, as was one prehistoric feature.

27 27 Before and After Excavation A soil sample taken from Feature C in Locus 2 yielded a radiocarbon date of 1870±40 B.P., within the Middle Woodland period. The feature also contained charred nut shells, likely hickory. The presence of Feature C and the lithic material suggests that this small site was visited at least once and possibly multiple times, during the Middle Woodland period by hunters and gatherers that were engaging in various stages of lithic processing. This alone may suggest the possibility of multiple occupation episodes. The site was probably a fall or early winter encampment as evidenced by the presence of charred nutshells. Although we could not prove a direct association with the Locus 1 site, the parallel activities of nut processing, quartz reduction and chert tool reworking indicate they may have been related. Both sites served the same purpose and demonstrate the continued reuse of the general area throughout the Woodland period. Both also speak to the importance of the Mine Brook and its surrounding resources to the Native American food gathering cycle over time.

28 28 Summary of Projectile Points EASTVIEW UV PROPERTY, NORTH OF GRASSLANDS ROAD, WEST OF MINE BROOK LOCATIONPHASE RECOVERED ST/EU NUMBERPROJECTILE POINT TYPE MATERIALDATE RANGE West side of Mine Brook WalkoverSurfaceAdena-like point - ovoid shaped, broad stem and broken tip Chert2,800 to 2,000 BP (Early Woodland ) West side of Mine Brook WalkoverSurfaceLamoka-like stemmed point – lower segment only Chert4,400 to 3,800 BP (Late Archaic possibly into Early Woodland) Northeast of Locus 1 IBArea F, ST 597Possible Brewerton - corner-notched, basal grinding. Quartz – smoky5,500 to 4,000 BP (Late Archaic, Laurentian Tradition) Northwest of Locus 1 IBArea G, ST 800Orient Fishtail –lower segment only Quartz - smoky3,200 to 2,500 BP (Late Archaic through Early Woodland) North of Locus 1 IBArea G, ST 876JLevannaChert- light gray1,300 to 600 BP (Middle to Late Woodland) Locus 1IBST 1.3 (N0E0) Untyped Triangle – with basal grinding Chert – dark gray Woodland ? Locus 1IIST 2.82 (N2E4) Argillite – gray/brown 1,200 to 450 BP (Late Woodland) Locus 1IIIEU 3.86 (S2W10.5) Kanawha/Neville-like point - basally notched Chert – light olive gray Possibly 8,000 to 6,000 BP (Middle Archaic) Locus 1IIIEU (S14W10) LevannaChert – mottled dark gray 1,300 to 600 BP (Middle to Late Woodland) Locus 1IIIST 3.79 (N0E9) Late-stage biface – probable Levanna in progress Quartz1,300 to 600 BP (Middle to Late Woodland) Locus 2IBST 1.1 (N0E0) Projectile Point TipChert – blackUnknown

29 29 Completed Archaeological Work After work was completed on North parcel, HPI then began testing the South Parcel in a similar manner – excavating and screening one shovel test every 15 meters.

30 30 Wetland Mitigation A cluster of precontact artifacts was found on the south end of the South Parcel, and was called Locus 1-1 and then the Eastview Wetland Mitigation Site. The small site, located immediately west of an existing wetland along the Mine Brook that was slated to be enlarged, produced a limited collection of chert flakes, a quartz flake, and a possible broken quartz biface. Stone tools were made and refined here.

31 31 Shovel Tests and Excavation Units Mapped consolidated shovel test results within precontact site boundaries of the IB, II and III phases.

32 32 Chert Meadowood Cache Blade A Meadowood chert cache blade attributed to the Early Woodland Meadowood Phase ( B.P.), and a quartz side-notched narrow- stemmed projectile point were also found.

33 33 Quartz Side-notched Projectile Point The quartz side-notched narrow-stemmed point had been heavily reworked. While it is not definitively datable, is generally thought to date to the Late Archaic period in the Hudson Valley. All precontact material here was found what we call a “plow zone” level, close to the surface. All were also found together with modern artifacts such as plastic, rubber, and the ubiquitous pop tabs. No features were encountered.

34 34 Phase III Excavations Data recovery excavations coupled with laboratory analysis concluded that the site was an important find, but due to its size and the artifact types, yielded only limited information about the Early Woodland period in the lower Hudson Valley. However, coupled with the contemporaneous finds on the North Parcel, it served to provide a broader picture of life during that time period. The presence of both a narrow-stemmed projectile point and a Meadowood cache blade suggest repeated occupations extending from the Late Archaic through the Early Woodland Periods at the site, possibly as early as 2,700 B.P. It is interpreted as a specialized hunting camp based on the presence of stone tools, chert, and debris. Both diagnostic artifacts show evidence of having been reworked after being damaged through use. Chert debitage bears evidence of the end stages of tool processing and resharpening, while other artifacts from the site show that occupants were seeking raw stone material for the production of new tools. The site likely represents an occupation that was found at the edges of the seasonal rounds of local populations. As these groups were getting further away from known sources of raw material, tools would be exhausted and would be repeatedly resharpened; new locally available stones would be sought for tools. Simply put, the site was able to tell us about how Native Americans kept and stored high quality stone tools made of non-local material, and then resorted to local material when they were further and further away from the source of the better quality lithics. The Mine Brook served as a gathering point for aquatic and mammalian resources, and likely drew hunters to this area.

35 35 Mine Brook Today, if you Google the “Mine Brook” in Elmsford, you will come up with a fabulous description of its abundant fishing that reminds us of its continued importance: Mine Brook is a stream located just.7 miles from Elmsford, in the state of New York, United States. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including brown trout, largemouth bass and brook trout here. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to Mine Brook. If all goes well, the bully will be hooked by your spawn sacs, the eastern brook trout will be biting your minnows and the largemouth will be grabbing your alewives. Read more: ny/#ixzz28AiSXWzv ny/#ixzz28AiSXWzv

36 36 Summary Long before the internet existed, or people of European ancestry moved into the area, Native Americans knew of the abundant resources that the brook and its banks had to offer. Likely they, too, fished in its waters, and we knew they certainly hunted and camped along its terraces, collecting seasonally abundant plant foods like hickory nuts. The traces that these groups left behind that were found at the Eastview Precontact Site tell us about how these people lived, where their raw material for tool making came from, and how far they would travel or trade to diversify their tools kits. More importantly, these artifacts give us a glimpse into the lives of those who were also dependent upon clean fresh water for daily life and for nurturing the food web that we all rely on.

37 The End Thank you.

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