PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Transportation has closed on a deal to purchase about 52 acres of land in Narragansett considered archaeologically important, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis announced Wednesday.
Kilmartin and the state Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission had challenged the property developer’s plan to build on the land after the discovery of evidence of a Narragansett Indian village on the site.
“As a state, we have made a commitment to protect our unique heritage,” said Kilmartin in a statement. “Through this acquisition, we have preserved one of the most important Narragansett Indian archaeological sites in our state, while also providing additional open space in this ecologically sensitive area of Rhode Island.”
The site, located at the head of Point Judith Pond and known as the Salt Pond Archaeological Site, was home to a large Narragansett Indian coastal village between the years 1100 and 1300 A.D. It contains rare evidence of daily life before the arrival of Europeans, including human burials, houses, food storage places and an array of artifacts.
The plan for the property includes stabilizing the site and its natural character, providing public interpretation and passive recreation.