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Native American Archaeology Discovery Presentation at Camden County Historical Society  

 

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CAMDEN CITY, NJ (April 28, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)--The Camden County Historical Society will host a presentation about the recent Native American Archaeology Discovery in Camden on Sunday, May 6th at 2 p.m. Ilene Grossman-Bailey, Senior Archaeologist of RGA, Inc., will present the recently excavated sites at the new Holtec International and South Broadway road projects in Camden City. The event is free and open to the public.

Ilene Grossman-Bailey works for RGA Inc. of Cranbury, Middlesex County; the firm was hired by Camden County and Holtec International to conduct the two excavations in 2015 and 2016. The state required archaeological studies since the construction of the Holtec International campus at the former New York Shipbuilding Co. site impacted wetlands.

The site yielded approximately 10,000 artifacts, including a ceramic vessel likely used for cooking, and a hearth containing charcoal that additional testing suggests dates from 1400 B.C.  “We think we have evidence of just one short-term occupation,” Grossman-Bailey said.

Residue found on artifacts such as grinding stones and hammer stones used to prepare food suggest that people on the site consumed maize, legumes, and barley/wild rye. Also, burned animal bones, as well as protein residue found on one tool, suggested that people at the site at some point hunted in addition to gathering.  This evidence of the processing and cooking of deer and other mammals, turtles, and wild fowl also was found among the artifacts.  These included 100 ceramic fragments and 11 prehistoric features, including an enigmatic ditch/structural feature that was 20 feet long, three feet wide, and chock full of artifacts.

Grossman-Bailey stated, “We don’t really know what it is. There really isn’t anything else like it in New Jersey, although similar features have been found near the Chesapeake and in New England,” she added. “It could represent the remains of a structure. It almost suggests you might have the remains of a house.”  The presence of features made by human beings on the site suggests that what may have begun as a temporary encampment grew into something larger and more permanent.

The Camden County Historical Society is located at 1900 Park Boulevard, Camden NJ 08103. The site includes the Hineline Research Library, Historic Pomona Hall, Cultural Heritage Center & Gallery, African American History Room, and Camden County Museum, and is regularly open Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 4:30pm and Sunday 12-3pm, with a $5 admission fee for nonmembers. For more information, please call 856-964-3333, email admin@cchsnj.org, or visit the society’s website at www.cchsnj.org.

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