Partner Event: “A Rift, not the River, made the Farmington Valley: The Geology of Route 44 in Western Connecticut.” 4/8/21

 “Unearthing History: The Discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian Site along the Farmington River in Avon, CT” webinar series continues with A Rift, not the River, made the Farmington Valley: The Geology of Route 44 in Western Connecticut

Thursday, April 8 at 7:00pm

Series created by the Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library & Avon Senior Center. Sponsored by a grant from the Farmington Bank Community Foundation.

The partnership of the Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center is pleased to present the second lecture in a five-part webinar series “Unearthing History: The Discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian Site along the Farmington River in Avon, CT.”  The second entitled “A Rift, not the River, made the Farmington Valley:  The Geology of Route 44 in Western Connecticut” will be presented by Howard Wright, Renbrook School Science Department Head.  It will be held on Thursday, April 8 beginning at 7:00pm via Zoom through a link from the Library. It is available free of charge.  Sign up at:  www.avonctlibrary.info

This will be a first ever photographic journey that is focused on the geology of Route 44 in western CT and adjacent areas.  Understanding the geology of the area will help everyone “read” the local landscape; all of the details are in plain sight! Once one understands that Connecticut’s uneven landscape is the product of North America and Africa smashing together and then wrenching apart (creating a rift valley in this area) and why the sinking valley floor filled up with alternating layers of sedimentary rock and igneous rock, then one will be ready for the Big-Reveal-in-Plain-Sight. One can travel east eight miles, from Canton CT’s Rt 44/Rt 177 intersection to West Hartford CT’s Rt 44/Rt 219 intersection and go across all seven layers of the ancient rift valley. Keeping your eyes on the road while driving (and not looking at rock layers) will be all the more challenging once you see this program.

The “Unearthing History” series, sponsored by a grant from the Farmington Bank Community Foundation, is being held in response to the 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 15,000 artifacts 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 the Northeast.   

According to Dr. Lucianne Lavin of the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT, 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)

To register to attend this event, please visit:  www.avonctlibrary.info 

Above: Howard Wright, Renbrook School Science Department Head, showing students a local basalt outcrop to explain the molten flow from a volcano.