Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oldest Burial Mound in Michigan Dating as Early as 3,000 B.C. Belongs to the Maritime Archaic

Oldest Burial Mound in Michigan Belongs to the Maritime Archaic

     The Brewerton phase was formulated by William Ritchie in the 1930s dating as early as 3,000 B.C. According to Ritchie the distribution was chiefly N.Y. and southern Ontario. Evidence presented here proves that the Brewerton were further south and west than Ritchie believed. Associated with the Brewerton are winged bannerstones, polished gouges, adzes, celts, slate arrows and spears, plummets, bone awls gouges, mullers and shallow mortars. They also had contact with the “Copper Culture” and many times copper weapons are found within their burials. Cremations in sub-surface burial pits or skeletons placed in a sitting or spoked position was the most common type of burials, sometimes dogs also accompany the dead.
      In a paper called “Prehistoric Man on Martha’s Vineyard,” by James B. Richardson III, he reported a dog in a pit burial that was filled with shells and also included Brewerton points in adjoining shell mounds. This shows that there is an amount of gray area in classifying a site as a Laurentian Shell Mound or a Brewerton burial.

This mound at Croton Dam in Newaygo County, Michigan represents the transition of the Brewerton to the Adena. In these mounds were found subsurface cremations, copper spear-points, stemmed points, copper beads, beaver incisors, stone drills, copper needles, red ochre, fire kits, and a childs burial that was accompanied by a dog. Burial traits and artifacts resemble the Archaic Brewerton more than the later Woodland period.