Archaeological Walkover at Mount Independence
Saturday, April 27, I joined a bunch of volunteers working with the professional archaeologists from Northeast Archaeology Research Center in a surface walkover of Mount Independence. The purpose of the event is to comb a section of the Mount looking for unusual surface features that might be man-made and dating from the Revolutionary War. The volunteers mark these spots and the archaeologists map the feature using a sophisticated GPS unit.
The weather was fantastic and it was great fun to walk Mount Independence with an eye to identifying significant features. During the past 34 years I must have visited the Mount 300 times at least, and yet I always seem to see something new on each visit. It helps to be with professional archaeologists and other knowledgeable enthusiasts, because Mount Independence is tricky. There are so many ledges and rocks that it is often difficult to determine if that clump of stones is the remains of the hearth of a soldiers’ hut or just a natural feature.
Mount Independence chert was prized by Native Americans for use as projectile points, and the soldiers stationed here in 1776-1777 for the manufacture of gun flints. A good part of the day involved scouring the area where the chert was quarried and worked. There are areas where it is quite clear that a lot of effort was put into the shaping of the stone.
It was also a good day for viewing wildflowers, like these blood root: