9,000 Years Ago in Dresden

Arthur Spiess

Senior Archaeologist,
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Bridge Academy, Dresden, Maine

Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Wednesday, November 9th at 7pm for the 2nd presentation of their 15th annual Winter Speaker Series. This program, “9,000 Years ago in Dresden”, features Arthur Spiess, Senior Archaeologist with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission [MHPC].
The subject of his evening presentation has been described as one of the most significant prehistoric archaeological sites in Maine. The parcel is also considered highest value wildlife habitat by US Fish & Wildlife Service and hosts the largest stand in the Bay of the rare intertidal plant, spongy arrowhead.
Between 5,000-9,000 years ago, this probable Native American fishing village site bridged a time of transition from largely nomadic cultures to those more settled in localized areas. The draw here, opposite the northern end of Little Swan Island in a time of lower sea levels, was a rapids or falls that slowed or stopped the vast inland runs of migratory fish. As might be expected, the fishing must have been excellent for natives to inhabit this site for so long.
Four years ago the property was threatened by an illegal eight home subdivision. Through the efforts of local citizens including Friends of Merrymeeting Bay members, the planned subdivision was halted and since then with the help of Land for Maine’s Future bond money and other funds, much of the property has been protected. FOMB is now in the final stages of fundraising to acquire the last section of archaeology site.
Arthur Spiess received a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University in 1978.  Since 1978 he has been employed by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission as an archaeologist.   The Commission job involves locating, identifying and protecting significant archaeological sites, including nomination of sites to the National Register of Historic Places.  Review of development projects and requiring archaeological survey, legislation and regulations, and land conservation and land planning are all major parts of his job. For about 25 years Spiess has been on the Board of The Maine Archaeological Society, and he serves as the Editor of Archaeology of Eastern North America for the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.
The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October-May on the second Tuesday or Wednesday. The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport. The next FOMB presentation on December 14th at the Bath City Hall entitled: “Col. John Allan, 1746-1805, Maine’s Unsung Hero” will feature historian Chris Groden.

To receive more information on FOMB’s programs call Ed Friedman, Chair, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, at 666-3372 or edfomb@comcast.net. Full speaker schedule and speaker biographies are available on the web at www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org <http://www.friendsofmerrymeetingbay.org/> .


Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler