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Radiocarbon Testing Dates Keene Archaeological Site: Professor Robert Goodby Spearheads Ongoing Research

September 3, 2012

GoodbyThe Tenant Swamp archaeological site in Keene, N.H., was discovered in 2009 and determined shortly thereafter to be from sometime around the end of the ice age; radiocarbon dating has recently pinpointed the age to be between 12,570 and 12,660 years old, making this one of the earliest securely dated sites in New England. The site was discovered and excavated under the direction of Dr. Robert Goodby, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin Pierce University, prior to the construction of the new Keene Middle School.

The archaeological dig revealed concentrations of artifacts, including more than 200 stone tools, which marked the locations of 4 tent sites. With support from a Franklin Pierce Faculty Research Grant, Dr. Goodby used recently developed techniques for radiocarbon dating of calcium carbonate by Beta Analytic, Inc. of Miami, Fla., to test animal bone fragments collected from one of the excavated tent sites. The dating was able to place the fragments within the aforementioned 90-year age span to a time period of more than 12,000 years ago. A site of this age places it at the time that it was first occupied by Paleoindians following the melting of the glacial ice sheets.

“It’s a rare find,” says Dr. Goodby, “because with these early populations, there were very few people. It was a very rugged, abrasive environment.” Dr. Goodby will continue to analyze his archaeological team’s findings, and will bring discussion of these into his classes at Franklin Pierce. Dr. Goodby is also available to speak to groups outside the University who are interested in learning more about his findings. He may be contacted through the Office of University Relations at (603) 899-4221.




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Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

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