A solar energy project in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, is facing an unusual challenge: the possible presence of a Native American burial ground. It’s the latest red flag raised by opponents of the project.
Curtis Hoffman is an anthropology professor at Bridgewater State. Last Tuesday, he walked through a forest in Shutesbury, where a 30-acre solar farm would be built, with opponents of the proposal.
“As we moved closer into the center of the area, it became very apparent to me that this is a patterned distribution and that there are far too many of them to be easily accounted for by natural causes,” Hoffman said.
He says he saw 60 to 90 mounds, most about 5 feet by 2 feet and a foot and a half high.
“I’m not saying it is a burial ground,” Hoffman said. “I’m saying it looks like a burial ground.”
Hoffman said testing would confirm whether his suspicions are right.
On Monday, the Shutesbury Planning Board will consider a permit to build the farm and could require such testing.
One planning board member sounds less than convinced. He’s said the mounds look like the result of wind throw — trees knocked over in a storm.