Upcoming Partner Events
March – October 2022
Upcoming Partner Event Series: “Unearthing History: The Discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian Site along the Farmington River in Avon, CT”
Five-part webinar series #2 open to all from March – October 2022
Series created by the Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library & Avon Senior Center. Sponsored by a grant from the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee
The Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center is pleased to present a second five-part webinar series entitled “Unearthing History: The Discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian Site along the Farmington River in Avon, CT” beginning on March 10th held via Zoom through a link from the Library. It is available free of charge. Sign up at: www.avonctlibrary.info
This second series of five lectures is being held in response to the 2018-2019 excavation of a 12,500-year-old (10,000BC) Paleo-Indian site six feet below ground during a CT Department of Transportation construction project of the now completed bridge on Old Farms and Waterville Roads at Route 10 in Avon, CT. The survey uncovered more than 20,000 artifacts and structures that are characteristic of the Early and Middle Paleo-Indian periods. The site is named for Brian D. Jones, the late Connecticut State Archaeologist, who led the effort to dig deep based on earlier excavations in the area over the past few decades. As of this writing, this site is considered the oldest archaeological site of its kind in southern New England.
Dr. Raff’s thesis focuses on the question how–and when–did people first come to the American continents? She states, “for many years, scientists thought these questions had a straightforward answer: the first peoples of the Americas journeyed from Siberia across the Bering Land Bridge at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, swiftly dispersing across the continents about 13,000 years ago via an ice-free corridor that opened up as the glacial ice that covered northern North America melted. However, in the last two decades, this model has been shattered by archaeological evidence of people in the Americas thousands of years earlier. As researchers have worked to construct and test new models for the initial peopling of the Americas, they have increasingly incorporated evidence from the genomes of ancient peoples, which provide an archive of human population history. The picture that is slowly emerging is very complicated indeed.
In this talk, we will piece together a story told by fragments of DNA recovered from a tooth in Siberia, from the burials of children in Alaska and Montana, and from adults buried across North, Central, and South America. We’ll try to reconcile this DNA evidence with the stories revealed by a small broken knife found deep below the surface of a muddy pond in Florida and by the footprints of children left thousands of years ago on the banks of an ancient lake in New Mexico. We will explore why the same pieces of evidence tell different stories to different groups of scholars, how they align (or don’t) with the ancient knowledge held by present-day Indigenous descendants, and where the major gaps are currently in our understanding of the earliest peopling of the Americas.”
The “Unearthing History” webinar series will continue to explore many of the aspects of life and work on this continent over 12,500 years ago. Experts in the field of early genetics, ice age animals, Paleo-Indian foodways and trade routes and ancient DNA will provide background and help in understanding the rich nature of this site. The Society, Library and Senior Center, with cooperation by the Town of Avon, have taken the lead to provide educational events for the public on all aspects of the site for as long as the analysis takes to develop. They thank the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee for financial support of this year long series.
According to Dr. Lucianne Lavin of the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT, site of a slightly later Paleo-Indian site, the last Ice Age in this region began to melt away about 17,500BP (Before the Present). As it receded, a lush new land was exposed that provided for animal life to return about 13,500BP in the form of tundra-grazing animals such as mastodons, mammoths, horses, giant beaver, caribou, and more. The ancient communities of the Paleo-Indians are thought to have begun to arrive in the northeast after that time in search of those animals for food. They were the first settlers of what is now Connecticut and southern New England. (Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples, by Lucianne Lavin, 2013, Yale University Press)
The following photos are provided by:
Archaeology and Historical Services, Inc., Storrs, CT
The Paleo-Indian toolkit are items recovered at the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian Site in Avon, CT
- “What Genetics Teaches Us About the Peopling of North America” will be held on Thursday, March 10 at 7:00pm. It will be presented by Dr. Jennifer Raff, anthropological geneticist at the Univ. of Kansas. She studies genomes of contemporary humans and their ancestors for insights into prehistory with a focus on the initial peopling of North America. Presentation is based on her May 2021 Scientific American cover story “Journey into the Americas” and her new book, Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas being released Feb. 2022.
- “Ice Age Animals of New England” will be held on Thursday, April 7 at 7:00pm. It will be presented by Dr. Sarah Sportman, Connecticut State Archaeologist & Dr. Nathaniel Kitchel, Dept. of Anthropology, Dartmouth. They will present the Pope Mastodon (found in Farmington on the grounds of Hill-Stead Museum) and the Mount Holly (VT) Mammoth, among other animals of the Ice Age.
- “Paleo-Indian Foodways with Trade & Network Exchange” will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00pm. It will be presented by Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, Curator of Archaeology, The New York State Museum. His focus is on the Pleistocene (Ice Age) into the Holocene period where Natives colonized 11,000-8,000BC. His research is on their technology, settlement and subsistence. He is a consultant on the Brian D. Jones site analysis.
- “aDNA – Ancient DNA” will be held in September, date to be announced. It will be presented by Christina Balentine and Samantha Archer, PhD candidates & research scholars at UCONN Dept. of Anthropology. They will present a broad spectrum overview on how & where aDNA is found and how it is analyzed.
- “Update on the Scientific Analysis of the Brian D. Jones site in Avon, CT Since its Discovery in 2019” will be held on Thursday, October 13 at 7:00 pm. Held during Connecticut Archaeology Month, it will feature Dr. David Leslie, Senior Prehistoric Archaeologist of Archeological and Historical Services (AHS), Storrs, CT. He will provide an update on the site in Avon as AHS begins the fifth year of analysis of the artifacts and structures found there.
Partners in this series include the Farmington River Watershed Association, Institute of American Indian Studies, Washington, CT and the Avon Land Trust. Special thanks to a planning committee of experts for assisting with developing this ongoing series: Dr. David Leslie, Archaeological and Historical Services; Marc Banks, PhD, LLC, Archaeologist; Nancy Najarian, Institute of Native American Studies; Beckie Sahl, Farmington River Watershed Association; Howard Wright, Renbrook School Science Department Head. Representing the three creating organizations are: Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society; Tina Panik, Avon Free Public Library; Jennifer Bennett, Avon Senior Center.
To watch the webinars from the 2021 series on YouTube, visit: www.youtube.com/user/afplct
To register to attend the 2022 events, please visit: www.avonctlibrary.info
Dr. Raff studies genomes of contemporary humans and their ancestors for insights into prehistory with a focus on the initial peopling of North America. This presentation is based on her May 2021 Scientific American cover story “Journey into the Americas” and her new book, Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas being released Feb. 2022. Two copies of her new book will be given away at the end of the talk.
Organic Lawn Care Workshop with FRWA Executive Director Aimee Petras- 4/30/22
Frey Property Tree Planting and Clean-up- 4/30/22
E&D Pizza Fundraiser- 4/6/22
What Peoples Forest Can Teach Us About Clean Water -3/24/22
Lessons from a Summer of Frogs, Turtles, Salamanders and Snakes in Simsbury -3/20/22
Partner Event: Celebrate World Water Day & the Clean Water Act- 3/21/22
Partner Event: FRWA Board Member, Ginny Apple, presents: Bald Eagle Recovery Story, hosted by the Wintonbury Land Trust – 2/2/22
Partner Event: CT No Child Left Inside Winter Festival, Burr Pond State Park, Torrington, CT – 2/2/22
Partner Event: One with Nature and exhibit of paintings by FRWA Board Member, Beckie Sahl- 1/3/22 – 1/29/22
FRWA’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival- 11/19/21
Annual Farmington River Clean-Up- 9/25/21
Downspout Disconnect Event at the Bristol Farmer’s Market- 7/17/21 & 7/31/21
Rockwell Park Rain Garden Tour and Downspout Disconnect Workshop- 7/6/21
Cancelled due to forecasted weather
River-Friendly Landscaping Workshop- 6/29/21
Page Park Rain Garden Tour and Downspout Disconnect Workshop- 6/26/21
Bat Talk with Maureen Heidtmann, Master Wildlife Conservationist 5/11/21
Beaver Talk with Ginny Apple, Master Wildlife Conservationist 4/1/21
Eagle Talk with Ginny Apple, Master Wildlife Conservationist 3/4/21