The Conservancy recently partnered with The Conservation Fund and the clothing manufacturer Patagonia to ensure the preservation of a tract of land in south Alabama, near the city of Mobile, known as Blakeley Bluff. The tract is approximately sixty acres and is in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. This is the second largest delta in the country and it’s fed by the Mobile and Tensaw rivers, plus numerous smaller creeks, streams, oxbow lakes, and marshes. It’s home to a variety of iris, lilies, hibiscus, and orchids as well as to several endangered plant and animal species. In addition to the forest and aquatic resources, minerals such as rich clay deposits make it a unique treasure in an area that is under constant threat from development and pollution. A native of the area, the late naturalist E. O. Wilson, referred to it as “America’s Amazon.”
Blakeley Bluff | Alabama
Egg Mountain | Vermont
The Egg Mountain site consists of a hillside settlement that was likely occupied from the late 1700s until approximately 1820. At least a dozen cellar holes, combined with stone walls and other landscape features, suggest this was the location of a sizeable community. The site is undisturbed, and the archaeological deposits offer a picture of a late eighteenth-century rural settlement in Vermont.
The site is also the likely place that Daniel Shays fled to after leading an uprising of farmers in his home state of Massachusetts in 1786 and ‘87 due to a debt crisis and high taxes.
Shays led the rebels, known as Shaysites, in an attack on the Springfield armory. When they were fired on by a militia protecting the armory, the Shaysites fled and the uprising was effectively over. Most of the leaders, including Shays, escaped to New Hampshire and Vermont.
Zemaitis | Michigan
The Zemaitis site in western Michigan contains evidence of human occupation from the terminal Archaic through the Middle and Late Woodland periods. The site sits on a natural levee between the bank of the Grand River and a seasonal marsh, and it afforded its inhabitants a rich array of riverine and wetland resources. The levee grew due to the accumulation of flood and wind deposits, burying evidence of a number of discrete occupations in the process.
Richard Flanders of Grand Valley State University conducted the initial investigations of the site in 1970 and 1975. His work focused on the north end, and he wanted to know if Zemaitis was a substantial habitation site that was associated with one of the larger Middle Woodland mortuaries on the lower Grand River. Though he didn’t find evidence of this association, he did uncover a series of intact middens containing rich deposits of lithics, ceramics, and subsistence remains.