Assistant research professor of anthropology
- By Megan Morley Thomas
John Crock describes archaeology as a never-ending puzzle; new pieces are added with every discovery. A significant piece to the Vermont puzzle, and consequently the larger world, was uncovered by the UVM Consulting Archaeology Program (CAP) at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt. As director of CAP, Crock's job is to uncover the physical traces of Vermont's past civilizations. At Okemo, those traces were significant.
An 11,000-year-old Paleoindian site, originally found in 1999 by CAP while conducting an archaeological survey for Okemo, is the oldest site ever found in the state. More recently, the site offers new insight into the area's first inhabitants. Dozens of tools and three fluted points — a hallmark of the earliest North American people often used for hunting — were excavated by CAP staff and students.
"These are the first ever people to lay eyes on the Green Mountains," says Crock of the artifacts' owners.
"These (flutes) are significant in and of themselves, but to find them in place and below the plow line is incredible because it gives us a bigger picture of the time," says Crock, director of CAP. "There are only a handful of sites even close to this old in Vermont ... You never stop looking for the oldest people; it's always a focus."
Crock believes that the Paleoindians appeared to have traveled this route as part of a geographic triangle picking up stone for tools, goods and also to follow big game. "They had to move with the resources," says Robinson, who hopes to do more work on the site.