A Timely Idea: MHC’s Archaeological Accountability Policy

Northfield MA sign

Members of the Northfield Historical Commission have sometimes felt like bystanders on the sidelines of history as archaeological sites with potential significance get dug up without accountability.

It’s an age-old problem. One has only to visit any local museum and browse the collection of arrowheads, pottery shards and other artifacts, often stripped of their connection to a specific site, to realize that important history may have been lost. Objects with a provenance offer clues to settlements and migration patterns that add value and interest beyond their inherent appeal as an ancient object.

According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Franklin County “is home to a large number of Native American, Dutch and English sites dating from 13,000 years ago through the Contact Period of the 1600s and continuing on through the Colonial Period into the present.” That’s why the state historical commission has developed an Archaeological Accountability Policy for adoption by towns hoping to protect their archaeological resources. In Franklin County, Deerfield and Gill historical commissions have adopted the MHC Archaeological Accountability Policy. Now, the Northfield Historical Commission would like to get its own version passed as a town bylaw.

Read the full story in the Greenfield Recorder.

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5 thoughts on “A Timely Idea: MHC’s Archaeological Accountability Policy”

  1. I was surprised to recently learned that “excavations” are not really done anymore, the different forms of technology allow people to do the research without disturbing the site.It adds so much richness to life when we realize where we’re walking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Non-intrusive ground methods are gaining but are still the exception – but it’s a step in the right direction. What has not progressed very far is the inclusion of Native, vested voices in the conversation. Cultural sensitivity – the human factor – is still lacking; those in power do not want to relinquish their stranglehold.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was rather shocked to find this in the Recorder… hmmm… maybe we are seeing change. I have a bit of research on Greenfield I did for their historical society who didn’t know what they have (as in artifacts)

    Liked by 1 person

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