As work proceeds on a town-wide archeology survey, many residents got the chance to share their own historical facts—as well as some important artifacts.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Historical Commission held an Archeology Day where people could meet with members of Public Archeology Lab of Pawtucket and share any information they had on the town’s history. The lab has been hired to do an Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey and Plan to identify areas of historical significance. Commission Chair Susan Taylor said that around two dozen people attended, and many had some important information.
“They made us aware of sites in town we may not have known about,” she said.
Some residents also brought in artifacts, including animal effigies, an arrowhead, and a mortar and pestle. Some of these have been contributed to the survey. Those who attended also learned about the process by which the survey is being done and how historical sites are mapped. While the facts learned that day won’t change the overall path of the survey, Taylor said it did give them more to go on.
“Indian caves that supposedly exist and a fish petroglyph, we had several people come in and talk about it,” said Taylor. “It gave us some insight into probable locations.”
The survey began last December and will be done in four phases. Taylor previously said that only 7 percent of the town has been mapped, and so little is known of what was there before North Attleborough was settled. Developers must have an archeological survey done of any sites they wish to build on, so the study won’t impact construction. Taylor hopes to use this to educate the town on its history and sites of interest. While much of the results will be made public, some information will be kept private to protect sites from vandalism and deter people from attempting to dig up areas searching for valuable items.
The archaeological survey has a total project cost of $25,000 and has been financed in part by the National Park Service. The total project cost will be funded by the town, as is typical of such matching grant projects. After the completion date of July 2020 and when the project report is accepted by the Massachusetts Historical Commission [MHC], the town will be reimbursed for $12,500.