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A rare discovery in Connecticut offers a glimpse at the first ancient people in the Americas

Paleo Indian Channel Flakes.jpg
Photo courtesy David Leslie, archeologist
Paleo-Indian channel flakes found in East Haddam, Connecticut, which are thought to be from between 11,000 and 13,000 years ago.

A rare archaeological site was found on the grounds of a coffee house in East Haddam, Connecticut. It could lead to more discovery about the first people to enter the Americas during the end of the last Ice Age.

The site is on the grounds of the Two Wrasslin Cats Coffee House and Café. Over 500 ancient items have been unearthed.

“And so we’ve found 21 fragments of these concentrated in one area of the site indicating that between 11,000 and 13,000 years ago this was an area where people sat down and made several spearpoints out of a few different types of material too,” said David Leslie, who is part of the archeological team. “Some of this raw material looks like it’s coming from New York. Some of it is here locally in Connecticut as well, so that was a little bit surprising.”

Leslie said they know it’s Paleo-Indian origin because of the types of stone arrowheads they’re digging up.

He said Paleo-Indian people were nomadic, traveling frequently and for hundreds of miles and were known to use the best materials for creating their tools and weapons they found during their travels.

Connecticut State Archeologist Sarah Sportman said it's rare to find sites like these as often they have been dug up over the years during large construction projects or eroded over time and washed away by storms.

“We know that people in this time period were very mobile, they lived a hunting, gathering lifestyle, that they moved around the landscape a lot, and traveled great distances. But they didn’t often stay in one place that long,” Sportman said. “So, to find one of these sites where people camped you know for a short period of time 11,000 or 12,000 years ago is really remarkable when you think about it.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.