Tax free shopping week begins

Aug. 19

The Darien Chamber of Commerce and local merchants are reminding residents to shop locally during Connecticut’s tax-free shopping week, from Aug. 19-25. Any clothing item under $100 will be sales-tax exempt if purchased locally. This includes items that are on sale for less than $100.

Darien has many retail shops that can fulfill the wardrobe needs for families — school, work, fall sports, leisure, rainy or cold weather clothing. Go to www.darienctchamber.com for information on Darien’s local stores, and access the list of qualifying categories of clothing at www.ct.gov/drs/cwp/view.asp?a=1477&q=509662.

Walk Bridge program uncovers ancient fort

An archaeological investigation associated with the state Department of Transportation’s Walk Bridge Program in Norwalk recently uncovered a Contact Period Native American fort site, along with several thousand artifacts of varying age. The site is on top of a 3,000-year-old site, indicating Native American use of this area for many generations before the arrival of European traders and settlers.

This discovery is a result of the Walk Bridge Program’s conducting preliminary archaeological surveys during the Environmental Assessment/Environmental Impact Evaluation. These surveys revealed the possibility of historically significant sites within the program’s work area, and further investigation revealed remnants of the pre-Contact and Contact Period fort. Contact Period refers to the period when Europeans first began coming in contact with Native Americans, generally understood to be 1500 to 1700.

“This is a highly significant discovery that represents some of the only real information we have on Native Americans in present-day Norwalk,” said Dr. Ross K. Harper, senior historic archaeologist for Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc., the Connecticut-based cultural resources firm completing the archaeological recovery effort. “Sites like this one are very rare. Fewer than a half-dozen have been discovered in Connecticut and Long Island Sound combined. Were it not for the Department of Transportation and the Walk Bridge Program, we may have lost this important opportunity to deepen our understanding of these people and their role in Connecticut history.”

The fort is believed to have been used primarily for trade between Native Americans and early Dutch settlers somewhere between 1615 and 1640 and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Artifacts uncovered from this time period include wampum, glass and copper beads, stone arrow points, European flint, and iron trade tools. Artifacts from the pre-Contact Period include an Orient fishtail point and a Lamoka point. No evidence of human remains or characteristics of a human burial has been found.

Following consultation with the Federal Transit Administration, State Historic Preservation Office, and federally recognized Native American tribes, the Department of Transportation will complete the removal and the site. Artifacts will be conserved and analyzed to develop and present an understanding of what occurred at the site. This area is an active construction site, and the public is asked to refrain from trespassing for their own safety and for the preservation of the archaeological site.

Maritime Garage Gallery seeks artists

The city of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery is inviting submissions from artists, 18 and over, for a new exhibit at the Maritime Gallery, in the Maritime Parking Garage exhibit space. The exhibit will run from Oct. 25 through Jan. 18.

The exhibit, titled “Street Level,” will feature works inspired by art in public places. Through art, public spaces have become the perfect canvas for many artists around the world, transforming walls, buildings and neighborhoods into outdoor galleries. The gallery is looking for pieces that take their cues from street art, guerrilla art, graffiti, tagging, stencil graffiti, poster art, and urban intervention. Clever uses of medium and interpretations on this subject are welcome except freestanding sculpture.

For online guidelines and submissions, go to www.norwalkpark.org/callforart. Email maritimegallery@norwalkpark.org with any questions. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 22.

The Maritime Garage Gallery is part of the Parking Authority’s “Art in Parking Places” placemaking initiative, an effort to support art in public spaces, helping to make Norwalk a more vibrant destination.

The gallery is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 203-831-9063 or visit www.norwalkpark.org/public-art