Vol. II No. 12 6/15/2021
Reader to Reader: We Got Mail
The first week of June, the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, now centered in Wisconsin, began fieldwork on two of its important cultural sites within ancestral Mohican homelands: the 1739 Meetinghouse site near today's Chimes Tower and the 1783 Ox Roast/King Solomon homesite along the Mary Flynn Trail in Stockbridge. The Nation is directing both projects, with a hired archaeology team serving as the primary investigator. The aim is to learn more about each site and document them, including adding to the National Register to amplify their significance and aid in their preservation.
The Nation was able to identify these locations thanks to historical research by Rick Wilcox as well as a volunteer engineering survey of the Meetinghouse area conducted by Rob Hoogs. The Ox Roast site also underwent an initial survey in 2019 that this project will expand upon. The Meetinghouse project is supported in part by an Underrepresented Communities Grant from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The Mohican Ox Roast/King Solomon Homesite project is funded in part by Citizens of Stockbridge under the provisions of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act.
During the first week of testing, the team conducted non-invasive geophysical surveys such as ground penetrating radar and magnetometer to find the location of artifacts and features that might indicate the presence of either historic site.
After the results from this non-invasive survey are analyzed, the crew will be returning back to the field on July 6 for at least a week to conduct an archaeological survey consisting of limited shovel test pits. Different artifact types may indicate different activities—hand wrought iron nails could indicate King Solomon Uhhaunaunauwaunmut's homesite, or items like military buttons, forks or burned animal bone might provide clues about the Ox Roast Feast. For the Meetinghouse, the survey might locate the actual footprint of the building and associated artifacts.
Anyone is welcome and encouraged to visit for the upcoming fieldwork starting July 6 and stop by, bring a chair, and share in this special experience that unites the Tribe and the Town together in their shared histories.
Tribal Historic Preservation Manager
Thank you so much for taking the time to give background and context and thank you for what you and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community are doing. It is very exciting.
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Chapter 61 is a land program through the State of Massachusetts that lets you get a reduced valuation on property if classified Forest, Agricultural/Horticultural/Recreational. Chapter 61 is Forest. Chapter 61A is Agricultural/Horticultural and Chapter 61B is Recreational.
That's where the "lien" comes in. If the property qualifies, the Board approves it, and we then place a lien on the property and value it accordingly. The lien is in place so the Town recoups the tax dollars in case the property is sold or withdrawn from the Chapter program before it legally can be.
Again, hope this helps.
(Michael Blay, Stockbridge Town Principal Assessor)
Thank you. Clear and concise and helpful in explaining the reported "lien on Highlawn" (see Notes from the Board of Assessors' meeting.)
Caroleotherwise credited by Patrick White