Remains of Ancient Forest Found Under Mass. Seabed

Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 08 2005

December 6, 2005
By Beth Daley The Boston Globe

Scientists mapping the seabed under a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound were stunned by their find: evidence of a submerged forest under 6 feet of mud.

It’s hardly the lost city of Atlantis, but the piece of birch wood, the yellowish-green grass, soil, and insect parts appear to be part of a forest floor that lined the coastline 5,500 years ago, before being swallowed by the sea that rose after the last ice age. Nearby is evidence of a drowned kettle pond and marsh.

The find has scientists abuzz because if a preserved forest rests below the sea, maybe artifacts from ancient cultures do, too – items that could help answer some of the most vexing questions about early people in North America. As more energy projects are proposed off New England, archaeologists say, there will be more opportunity for even bigger finds.

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