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Jamesport Site

Table of Contents
Introduction
History
Preservation

Introduction

The Jamesport Site is an Orient Period (1,000 – 1,300 BC) ceremonial burial ground.

During this cultural period, distinct spiritual and ceremonial burials were practiced; including “killed” steatite bowls, burial offerings, red ochre caches, and dog sacrifices.

In February 2017, Riverhead town purchased this site for due to its cultural significance. It is the last known Orient Period burial site still remaining.

History

1940

The most significant Native American archaeological site along Main Road is “Sieminski Farm Site” at the crest of Sharper’s Hill behind the hamlet of Jamesport. Artifacts from the site have been dated to the transition period between the Archaic Period and the Early Woodland Period (about 3,300 – 2,700 B.P).

The site was first excavated in 1940 by Roy Latham, an amateur archaeologist from Orient. The site was professionally re-excavated by William Ritchie (New York State Archaeologist), Irving Rouse (Professor, Yale University) and Peter P. Pratt. Along with two similar sites in Orient and one in Shinnecock Hills, it revealed artifacts providing important evidence of the mortuary customs of the little-understood Archaic Period inhabitants.1 At the Orient I and II, the Jamesport, Sugar Loaf Hill and Aquebogue sites, archaeologist Roy Latham encountered burials with red ochre, broken or “killed” steatite bowls, and a type of projectile point that came to be known as Orient Fishtails.

1956

Archaeologist William Ritchie later studied the site in 1956.

Although no other sites along Main Road are as well documented, a quick perusal of some old scrapbooks reveals numerous accounts of Native American remains were uncovered in the area. Moreover, most of the families that have farmed along Main Road for several generations have extensive collections of Native American artifacts.1

Preservation

2009

A letter from Douglas Mackey of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation read into the record of the 2009 environmental impact hearing on the Village at Jamesport project that includes this hill, stated1 that:

ʺWhile the Jamesport Hill site had not been officially determined eligible (to the National Register), that is only because the site was not endangered previously and no request for a formal determination has been made. The site is clearly eligible.ʺ

2017

In February 2017, Riverhead town purchased this site for due to its cultural significance. It is the last known Orient Period burial site still remaining.

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