Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
Connect with CSASI on facebook

The Sugarloaf Excavation of September 2013

by Angela Austin

Central States Archaeological Societies 2014 October Journal

Clarksville, Tennessee

Over the years, I have volunteered to be a participant in fieldwork sponsored by the ASAA (American Society for Amateur Archaeology). I enjoy being one of the team members and it is fun to get my hands dirty with the
Figure 2. The author getting her hands dirty.
anticipation of finding something that has been buried for hundreds if not thousands of years. I found several points during a dig at the Kadoha Village, near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. When I learned of an opportunity to come and join the team at the Sugarloaf Site in the Connecticut River valley of Massachusetts, I immediately signed up and made my arrangements to travel there.

My expectations for what I thought was to be discovered at the Sugarloaf excavations were high. But I certainly did not anticipate seeing such amazing relics come to light from day one of my arrival! As I watched the first complete Clovis be released from the earth after over 12,000 years, it was quickly realized that this Clovis was even rarer than expected in that it must have been lost by the maker, shortly after completion, because it had never been ground for hafting.

Figure 3. Eric Lott slowly uncovers an intact Clovis projectile point.
Figure 4. Eric Lott slowly shows the complete point, its first moment in the sunlight in thousands of years

With my camera in hand I focused my lens on the intense look on Eric Lott’s face (Fig. 3,4) as he carefully excavated this beautiful relic from its last resting spot. The anticipation within the group soared to the highest levels as we quickly measured in the specific location that it had laid for so many thousands of years; to pure joy as the beautiful Clovis was passed from one volunteer to the next for each to hold. This was only the beginning of the many large Clovis bifaces, Palaeo tools as well as Caribou bone, which helped to properly document the age of the site to between 12,600-12,700 B.P. The Sugarloaf excavations of 2013 (Fig. 1-6) have opened up the doors to future excavations that will allow for further documentations of what is possibly the largest Palaeo habitation site to date in North America! I am honored to have been invited to participate in what could possibly be one of the most important excavation sites known to exist in the Connecticut River Valley as well!
Figure 5. Volunteers excavating layer by layer so as to not miss anything. This is where the whole Clovis point was found. Figure 6. A view from the other side of the exaction shown in Figure 5. Dr. Gramly can be seen observing their work at far right.