Interpretations

The Broome Tech site, located adjacent to the Chenango River and just north of its confluence with the Susquehanna, was an attractive location for prehistoric people. Archaeological investigations showed that the site was occupied sporadically starting at approximately 1500 B.C., and continued to be used over millennia. The site served as a camp during three major time periods: Transitional, Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland.

For the Transitional period, PAF identified a series of seasonal camps created by small groups who moved from place to place within the valley. The tight concentration of features and artifacts indicated fewer visits to the site, but more intense use during each. Occupants focused on more specific tasks than during the other periods of site use. These centered on hunting and butchering, along with bifacial tool production and the collection of nuts, with supplemental fishing activities.

Artifacts and features were more spread out during the Middle Woodland period. Evidence suggests that people during this period used the site area for small seasonal camps during repeated visits through time. Groups built several large FCR-rich roasting platforms in the center of the site. These features are unique to this period of site use. Overall, patterning suggests a series of small and lightly populated camps centered on one or more hearths or roasting platforms.

Broome Tech during the Late Woodland period is interpreted as a large, seasonally reoccupied multi-task camp that was used for extended periods of time. The large and diverse artifact assemblage suggests that people used the site more intensively for a greater variety of tasks than during previous periods. The single large storage pit was repeatedly used, cleaned, and reused and may have held food, such as maize (brought in from elsewhere) for use in the fall and/or spring (Knapp 2002). The feature served as a focal point for activities with most of the identified hearths concentrated in an arc to its south. Some of the larger hearths may have been reused yearly.

The Broome Tech site represents a rare stratified site in this section of the Chenango Valley. This data recovery project offered archaeologists the opportunity to investigate, radiometrically date, and deeply analyze the three components present. The resulting information has enhanced our understanding of the people who lived in the Chenango and Susquehanna Valleys before Europeans arrived. Portions of the site have been preserved and undeveloped as part of negotiations with the developers and agencies involved in the project. An economic development initiative was able to move forward while preserving information from the site and preserving a portion of the site itself for future research.