National Register Nomination Information:
"Hunter Site" refers to a stratified prehistoric archeological complex consisting of several discrete occupational levels on the lowest of three terraces (on this terrace all levels are undisturbed). Available data indicate that the occupations belong within Middle and Late Woodland cultural frames.
The second, or intermediate, terrace contains Middle and Late Woodland cultural debris intermixed in a cultivated zone. Beneath that level, in undisturbed subsoil, is another Middle Woodland component that is culturally related to the fourth occupation on the lower terrace. At a depth of six feet, another occupation, as yet culturally unidentified, has been located. Its position in relation to the geomorphological features of the site suggests that it is earlier than any of the occupations on the lower terrace.
The third terrace, on which at least one undisturbed (and unidentified) occupation is known to exist, is barely visible; it was discovered during test excavations. Present indications are that the occupation on that terrace relates to or is earlier than the lowest occupation on the second terrace.
Cultivation was generally continuous on this tract of land from the late 18th century until 1967. This resulted in a disturbed zone from 12 to 18 inches in depth on the second and third terraces. Due to annual alluvial sedimentation on the lower terrace during the past 200 years, the cultivated deposit is three to four feet deep. A stratum of sterile alluvium separates the most recent aboriginal occupation from cultivation.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
This series of stratigraphically discrete Middle and Late Woodland occupations on the first terrace provides a unique opportunity to study cultural change and adaptation in the upper Connecticut River valley. In addition, the presence of related and other, potentially earlier, occupations on the second and third terraces expands the research significance of this site to include correlated studies of the geomorphology of flood plain development, a suggestion offered by Dr. Wakefield Dort (personal communication).
Sargent (1969;30-32) has suggested that the cultural remains reflect long-standing influences reaching the Connecticut Valley from the New York area, because of the numerous correspondences with artifact assemblages reported there (e.g., Ritchie 1969). This seems especially evident in the uppermost stratum on the first terrace from which potsherds with strong resemblances to Oak Hill and Chance pottery have been recovered. Radiocarbon dates for that stratum provide evidence of temporal contemporaneity: AD 1300+/-120 yrs. (GX-1866) and AD 1430+/-95 yrs. (GX-1854). Ritchie (1969:303) places Oak Hill between AD1300 and 1390.
The continued investigation of this site is required if we are to more fully appreciate the nature of cultural development in the upper Connecticut Valley, and to distinguish contrasting cultural systems that appear to be emerging between the prehistoric cultures of the Connecticut and Merrimack valleys. Further, the possibility of early Iroquoian influences in the area gives the site a broad historical significance in relation to the development of important socio-political systems in late prehistoric and protohistoric time.
MAJOR BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
Ritchie, William A. The Archaeology of New York State. Garden City: Natural History Press. 1969.
Sargent, Howard E. "Prehistory in the Upper Connecticut Valley." in William R. Young, ed, An Introduction to the Archaeology and History of the Connecticut Valley Indian. New Series 1 (1):28:32. Springfield, Mass.: Springfield Museum of Science, 1969.
FORM PREPARED BY: Howard R. Sargent, P. O. Box 589, Center Harbor, NH 03226. Tel: not given. Date: June 10, 1974.
DATE ENTERED: June 7, 1976.
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