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  • Hep save Bethel Indian Town

    for mor info email me @ [email protected]

    MONROE: �" Archaeologists have uncovered clusters of 18th-century
    artifacts in three underground pits at Thompson Park, lending
    credibility to claims that the historic American Indian settlement
    known was Bethel was located where the district's new high school is
    to be built, experts familiar with the excavation said.

    If the finds convince state officials that Bethel was there, the
    Department of Environmental Protection's Historic Preservation Office
    could ban construction at the site, forcing Monroe to look for a new
    place to erect the school.

    Among the artifacts discovered are an "unusual" tobacco pipe and a
    large agricultural tool used for weeding called an iron (A tool with a
    flat blade attached approximately at a right angle to a long handle,
    used for weeding, said Richard Veit, vice president of the
    Archeological Society of New Jersey and a professor of anthropology at
    Monmouth University.

    Richard Walling, a historian who visited the site independently, said
    workers there confirmed a rumored finding of a cache of turtle
    remains. Turtles would have been a staple in the diet of that
    civilization, and the remains may have been part of a garbage pile,
    Walling said.

    But Ilene Grossman-Bailey, lead researcher for Richard Grubb and
    Associates, the archaeological firm doing the excavation on behalf of
    the township, declined to discuss the artifacts.

    "I'd really rather not confirm anything," Grossman-Bailey said. "What
    I can tell you is that we've completed our Phase Two archaeological
    field work, and I'm analyzing the artifacts and material that's come
    out of it. I can't comment further. We have to put together a report
    for the (DEP), and that's going to take some time."

    Darlene Yuhas, spokesperson for the DEP, also declined to comment on
    the findings.

    "All we can say right now is we're awaiting the results of the
    archaeological testing, and then we'll review that report. I don't
    have a timeframe on that," Yuhas said.

    Experts say the three underground pits themselves may be remnants of
    structures built by the Bethel community.

    "The features reflect the fact that some sort of activity was there.
    Something was going on. It's not that common to find intact
    18th-century deposits," said Veit, who visited Thompson Park earlier
    this month. "I don't know that it's a smoking gun, but it seems like a
    good circumstantial case at this point. It needs more work to say for
    sure. I'm not convinced that it isn't there."

    He added, "The thing that I think is intriguing is that there are
    several mid-18th-century artifacts that are from the right time period
    and are close to the purported location of Bethel."

    Another expert who has first-hand familiarity with the study but asked
    not to be named confirmed the finds, saying: "I think it's Bethel.
    Everything fits."

    Township Attorney Peg Schaeffer and School District Business
    Administrator Wayne Holliday could not be reached for comment.

    Meanwhile, Walling is actively pushing to get the Thompson Park site
    entered onto state and national historic registers, but said he has
    been stalled by DEP officials who want to wait for the results of the
    Grubb study before making any decisions.

    "As I've said from the very beginning of this ordeal, the site is
    what's important, not whether or not there are artifacts there,"
    Walling said.

    For example, Walling said, the state has declared Edison's Oak Tree
    Pond, the location of a Revolutionary War skirmish, eligible for the
    registers regardless of physical artifacts.

    "I'm not going to guess as to what the motivation is, but this is a
    highly political matter, and the Historic Preservation Office is
    getting pressure from all sides," Walling added.

  • #2
    Where's Bethel?


    • #3
      central New jersey


      • #4
        Rally at Bethel Indian Town, NJ

        rlerner@thnt. com
        MONROE - Four American Indian men sat in a small circle striking an
        animal-skin drum, chanting, as a crowd of about 40 people stood
        beneath the
        trees at Thompson Park on Saturday and looked on.

        "Every indigenous (culture) believed that we're all related," said
        Brett Pepomahemen, a drummer and Lenape Indian from Pennsylvania. "We need
        to stand up as human beings to protect what's left of the Lenape

        Pepomahemen spoke to a group of sympathetic faces, including Lenapes,
        environmentalists and history buffs who gathered to honor those who
        lived in
        the 18th century American Indian village called Bethel Mission. Some
        prominent archaeologists and local historians insist it was located here,
        though the township contests those claims.

        The 35-acre tract, currently owned by Middlesex County and protected
        as open space in the Green Acres program, is slated to become a new high
        school in the township's overcrowded district.

        A state-mandated dig by the township's archaeological firm, Richard
        Grubb and Associates, turned up a bevy of 18th-century artifacts on 3.6
        acres here, including a tobacco pipe, a cache of turtle shells and an iron
        hoe. Grubb called the finds "insufficient" to prove Bethel's existence.

        Etaoqua, a Mahican woman of the Muhheakannuck nation, said she doesn't
        need any excavations to tell her the land is sacred.

        "There was a village here. I can feel it. It is a knowing," Etaoqua
        said, standing in a depression on the field that historian Richard Walling
        claims was once the headwaters of Wigwam Brook, the site of Bethel.

        The state Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing the
        study. The agency could ban construction at the site, or do the opposite,
        lifting the Green Acres restrictions and paving the way for the school.

        Carmen Dolson, a councilor from the Munsee Delaware Nation in Ontario,
        Canada, said digging into the land would be an insult. Building on top of
        the land without digging, however, would be less offensive, Dolson said,
        adding that she would like to see a monument to Bethel on the grounds.

        "This is our land," Dolson said.

        Cathy "Starfire Woman" Chadwick-Ciccone, a Lenape from the Six Nations
        Reserve in Ontario, Canada, performed a ceremony to give thanks to "the
        Creator" Saturday. She burned sage and gave a short speech about the
        importance of preserving sites historic to American-Indian culture.

        "What brings me here is that this is Lenape hoking (land). In this
        tri-state area, so much has been tarred and paved over. In our culture, we
        honor our ancestors and those who came before us," Chadwick-Ciccone said.
        "We're doing this for the Lenape children yet to come, letting them know
        that we're still here, we still honor our land."

        Jane Tousman, a member of the executive board of the state Sierra
        Club, said she joined the informal protest because she opposes any
        effort by
        the state to lift Green Acres protection for fear it will set a harmful

        "We've got to make sure this land stays open space and nothing else,"
        Tousman said.

        The township reached an agreement with the county to get the 35-acre
        Thompson Park tract in exchange for swapping 172 acres of its own existing
        open space, plus a $1,127,000 payment, but needs the DEP's green light to
        move forward.

        William Liebeknecht, president of the Archaeological Society of New
        Jersey, told the Home News Tribune in July that he is convinced Bethel was
        at Thompson Park.

        Walling, a local historian who organized the rally, said deeds and
        other archival records provide evidence of the village's existence at
        Thompson Park. Walling has applied to get the site onto the state and
        national historic registers. He wants the site protected from
        he said.

        Township officials have said Thompson Park is the only suitable place
        to build the school in Monroe, a claim that others have publicly


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