Stephen Pyne

Forest Burning and Clearing by Hudson Valley Indians 1000 Years Ago

In describing and interpreting the results of her investigation of the Goldkrest Site near Albany, New York, archaeologist Lucianne Lavin (2004) referred to the radiocarbon dating of burned soil patches with associated charcoal as evidence of forest clearing through the use of fire.  This evidence was found near the transition between soil strata that indicated a stabilizing landscape about AD 1000.  The implication of this information is that as floods became less frequent and less violent due to changes in the Hudson River channel; this section of the Hudson River floodplain became more attractive for gardening to the ancestors of the Mohican Indians.