The same federal laws that require archaeological studies also mandate formal consultation with federally-recognized Native American tribes. The laws recognize that Native American tribes have special expertise in understanding and interpreting archaeological finds and understanding the lifeways of their ancestors. Much information that Native American tribes possess is passed down orally.
The Mashpee Wampanoag and Gay Head (Aquinnah) Wampanoag are the two federally recognized tribes who played important roles in the Marshfield Airport project. Wampanoag ancestors occupied the archaeological site areas. Tribal members who have special knowledge and cultural understanding were on site every day of the excavations, visited the laboratory in which the recovered artifacts were cleaned and catalogued, and contributed insights and observations that helped archaeologists understand better the Native American sites and how they should be interpreted.
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