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NEW FROM
THE ECHO BLOG

THE MAKINGS OF A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP

POSTED MARCH 27 AT 5:00 PM

As the AmeriCorps member here at ECHO I have the privilege…

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FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE

 
Contact: Steven Leibman or Grace Per Lee
802-864-1848 ext. 125 or 131
sleibman@echovermont.org or gperlee@echovermont.org

CLICK HERE FOR FRENCH-CANADIAN VERSION

MYSTERY ROCK AT ECHO

“Ramah Chert” found by Smithsonian Scientist Raises New Questions

BURLINGTON, Vt. — You have likely heard the tales of the Champlain Sea, the body of water that encompassed this region thousands of years ago, before the birth of Lake Champlain. Perhaps you’ve seen Charlotte the beluga whale at UVM’s Perkins Museum, and maybe you’ve pictured a pristine ocean, teeming with sea lions and walruses... but did your vision include people? Well, it should, according to recent findings by Smithsonian Arctic Archaeologist/Anthropologist Dr. Stephen Loring, and he has the scientific evidence to prove it. Now, at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, you can see a piece of that story, as part of their newest exhibit “INDIGENOUS EXPRESSIONS: Native Peoples of the Lake Champlain Basin.”

In the late 1970s, Dr. Loring was a graduate student working for Vermont State Archaeologist Giovanna Peebles, documenting the Indian artifact collections of Vermonters, when he came across an ancient chiseled point in the collection of James Manley. Loring knew he’d found something of interest, but it took three decades of further research to realize just what the significance of the artifact is: According to Loring, it challenges the traditional theory that people from our area traveled up into the Arctic 4,000 years ago. He has determined that the point he found is in fact made of Ramah Chert, from Ramah Bay, in northern Labrador, Canada — and that it is more than 10,000 years old. The theory Loring has developed is that early Basin dwellers were part of a sophisticated maritime culture that traveled thousands of miles up the Champlain Sea and into the Arctic, extracting and trading the Ramah Chert as early as 11,000 years ago.

The Ramah Chert is just one of the artifacts showcased in INDIGENOUS EXPRESSIONS. ECHO’s facility-wide Quadricentennial exhibit also includes live species, a speaker’s series, and Contemporary Portrait Gallery by acclaimed photographer Ned Castle. ECHO will also host several screenings of the film “Hidden Landscapes” by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ted Timreck, which tells the story of Dr. Loring and his journey of discovery. Through all of these elements, ECHO hopes to shed more light on indigenous stories that have too often been just a side-note in history, and to illustrate how their connections and adaptations to the land allow our Native neighbors to survive and thrive in the Lake Champlain Basin. Partnerships such as the one with Dr. Stephen Loring, along with photographer Ned Castle and Abenaki Historian Dr. Frederick M. Wiseman, allow ECHO — and visitors to ECHO — to examine the multifaceted human-landscape connections that go back thousands of years, and are still viable today.

This exhibit is made possible by a grant from the US Department of Education, through the support of US Senator Patrick Leahy, the ECHO Annual Fund, and KeyBank.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s Burlington Waterfront. ECHO features 70 live species, over 100 interactive experiences, seasonal changing exhibits and events — all exploring the Ecology, Culture, History, and Opportunity for stewardship of the Lake Champlain Basin. The 2.2 acre Leahy Center environmental campus is also highlighted by the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Room, UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, Lake Champlain Navy Memorial, ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and green-themed Think! Café. Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day. Admission is $7-$9.50; children under 3 and K-12 classroom teachers with credential ID are free. For more information visit echovermont.org, call 1-877-ECHOFUN, or write to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.
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