The eight-acre Potter site in Randolph’s Moose River Valley has earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as an archaeological property.
“The site is a rare example of a highly intact, exclusively Paleoindian multi-purpose archaeological site,” New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources announced Tuesday. “Studies done by professional archaeologists indicate that it was used intermittently as seasonal hunting and fishing camps from 12,500-10,500 B.C.”
Data recovered at the site through archaeological study has provided important information that has led to better understanding of the Paleoindian period in the Northeast.
“Potter site’s topography had advantages for those who camped there. Elevated portions provided vantage points for spotting caribou herds that migrated through the White Mountains; the hunting culture relied on caribou for food, clothing, tents, and for bone and antler that were used for tools,” the news release said.
A majority of the artifacts recovered at the site during excavation are byproducts from the manufacture of chipped stone tools, including butchery implements, hide working tools, hunting weapons, woodworking tools and tools for cutting, scraping and shaping.
“While the artifacts hold no real monetary value, they help archaeologists learn more about the daily lives of those who lived at the site,” the news release said.
The site’s layout indicates that three household encampments were scattered across the area, along with three stone tool production workshops, a wooden tool production workshop and three undefined activity sites. When inhabited, the household encampments and workshop areas would have been within a few feet of each other.
A portion of the stone tools and stone debris recovered come from stones not naturally found in the area, according to the news release, indicating that people at the Potter site traveled throughout the region, interacted with other Paleoindian groups and that the site itself was part of a much larger settlement system.
“Additional professional archaeological study of the Potter site may result in discovering additional important information regarding the little-known period of human habitation of the Americas, especially in the Northeast, around the end of the Ice Age,” the news release said.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact the Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.