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Ja Mar (Massachusetts)

The Ja Mar site is located along the Nemasket River in historic Middleborough, Massachusetts. It was occupied from the Middle Archaic to the Late Woodland period, and around A.D. 1400 it served as a Wampanoag village. The Nemasket River was a vital resource and the reason the village was located here. To this day, the river has one of the largest herring runs on the Eastern Seaboard. The river may also be why this area around Middleborough has one of the highest densities of Native American sites in the state of Massachusetts.

The site had been periodically subjected to surface collecting and amateur digging during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first documented excavations occurred in the 1930s by the Massachusetts Archaeological Society (MAS), during which little was found. Excavations by the MAS in the 1950s and ‘60s uncovered a large number of artifacts, including grit-tempered pottery with incised or stamped surface treatments, and several unfired clay balls that may have been evidence of pottery making. Stone tools such as atlatl weights, drills, knives, scrapers, pestles, an adze, grooved axes, hammerstones, pendants, and projectile points were also found, as well as debitage from tool manufacturing. A carved bear head effigy pestle was also recovered from the site.


This excerpt was published in our WINTER 2018 Issue of American Archaeology.

Browse the article excerpts in our last issue: FALL 2018 .

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