Pre-Colonial New England

I chose to research Native American tribal life before colonization for a few reasons. The first being I grew up in Massachusetts, and every year in school we would visit important historical sites, and a lot of time in the subject of history was spent on the Pilgrims and Puritans, the Salem Witch Trials, and anything relating to the Revolutionary War – such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Battles of Lexington and Concord to name a few. The second being that later on in life as I picked up more history books, I was amazed at how much Native American history is overlooked in schools – especially the time period before colonization. The legacy of what the first few colonists recorded of Native Americans is strong, and unsurprisingly – a little inaccurate. Even today in many public schools – if not the majority, Native American history is taught as if it begins in 1492, or 1603, or 1620, and Native Americans are compared to Europeans and characterized as primitive.

This is not the case however. A lot of what we know about New England Native American daily life pre-colonization is from archaeology, and it has taught us a lot. For example I didn’t know that Paleo Natives arrived in what is now New England around 12,000 years ago, or that tribes in New England had trade routes that went all the way to Wisconsin and the Dakotas in the West, and Virginia to the south. What I also found interesting was how much Native American material culture evolved, especially from 5000 years ago to 300 AD, to 300 AD up to the arrival of the Europeans. Farming tools became more effective, as did the move from using soapstone for pots to using clay pottery. Native Americans in not only manages to survive, but thrive in the harsh temperamental climate of New England for thousands of years. They were not simple hunter gatherers, nor brutal ‘savages’ as many contemporaneous primary accounts would have you believe. They had advanced farming methods which yielded successful and bountiful crops, as well as exceptional knowledge of the land and the animals that inhabited it.

I felt it was relevant to include the recent struggle of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts. In 2015, they were approved to have 321 acres held in trust – which would become a reservation and they would gain the right to build a casino – which was not the main reason for the desire to re-acquire their land back. In October, this decision was reversed by the US government, despite them being a federally recognized tribe. I think if more people knew about the long and rich history of Native Americans in different regions of the United States, especially before colonization, movements such as the one in Mashpee would get more attention and more public support – perhaps even changing the outcome, and archaeology is a great tool for uncovering that deeper past and supporting a more truthful and accurate narrative.

Sources:

Barboza, Robert. “History: Wampanoag Artifacts Offer Clues to the past.” Southcoasttoday.com. July 26, 2016. Accessed November 16, 2018. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/special/20160726/history-wampanoag-artifacts-offer-clues-to-past.

Bradford, William. “History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647.” The American Historical Review18, no. 3 (1913). doi:10.2307/1835526.

Collins, Dave. “Archaeologists Dig Native American Fort Found in Connecticut (Update).” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology. August 28, 2018. Accessed November 02, 2018. https://phys.org/news/2018-08-archaeologists-native-american-fort-connecticut.html.

Fogarty, A. (2018, March 17). Native voices, accurate history forge deeper, better understanding of American Indians in nation’s schools. Retrieved from https://insider.si.edu/2018/01/genuine-article-native-knowledge-360-introduces-schoolchildren-authentic-native-americans/

Fox, J. (2018, October 6). Mashpee Wampanoag protest Trump administration land ruling. Retrieved from https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/news/2018/10/9/mashpee-wampanoag-protest-trump-administration-land-ruling

Mandell, Daniel R. King Philips War: Colonial Expansion, Native Resistance, and the End of Indian Sovereignty. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.

Russell, Howard S. Indian New England before the Mayflower. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1985.

Shuffelton, Frank. “Indian Devils and Pilgrim Fathers: Squanto, Hobomok, and the English Conception of Indian Religion.” The New England Quarterly 49, no. 1 (1976): 108-16. doi:10.2307/364560.

“The Pequot War.” The Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation. Accessed November 02, 2018. https://www.mptn-nsn.gov/pequotwar.aspx.

“Timeline.” Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Accessed November 02, 2018. https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/timeline/.

Wilbur, C. Keith. The New England Indians. 2nd Edition ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1996.

Winthrop, John.”What Warrant Have We to Take That Land?”England, 1629.

Hiking in the PNW

I decided to make a video about my favorite thing to do (besides archaeology!), hiking. I think the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and a few moments up in the mountains away from the city is a great tonic for pretty much anything. I try to get out of the Seattle area as often as I can, but life can get very busy sometimes. These are all clips I have taken in the last year or so from some of my favorite hikes. Hopefully I can make some new ones soon!

Historical Archaeology: American Bottling Company

Bottle typology is really interesting, I had no idea how accurately you could date a bottle, and how much information is embedded in it’s manufacturing. The bottle I studied was made by the American Bottling Company. It is an aqua colored beer bottle, made in the export style, which was popular during the late 19th and early 20th century for alcoholic beverages. Export style dates back to the 1870s, and is characterized by a bulge in the neck, a body length that is equal or just a little taller than the height of shoulder, neck and finish all combined, and the shoulder is also short and sharp angled.

This beer bottle is also a 2-piece post mold, and the base has a pontil mark, and is embossed with, “A.B. Co C 6.” Originally, based on it’s shape, color, finish and style, I dated the bottle from 1870s-1890s. However, after doing a little more digging, I found out the C 6 is supposed to have to do with a more specific timeframe in which it was manufactured, but I could not find any more information as to what timeframe that would be for the specific label. I did find however that American Bottling Company changed their labels pretty often, either how they presented their name, including or not including the location where it was manufactured, the location of the label itself on the bottle, having an ‘X’ symbol, and even combining the ‘A’ and ‘B’ into a single symbol. American Bottling Company was represented on this bottle as “A. B. Co C6”. “A. B. Co” as a base mark means that this bottle was manufactured between the dates of 1905-1914.

We are All Equal in Death

This past week, we did a survey of a section of Calvary Cemetery in Seattle. The section I surveyed had graves from the early 20th century to now, and there was a very diverse variety of grave shapes in that section. My section also had many family plots from the early to mid 20th century, and only a few from the last 30 years, which seemed to be the overall trend in the graveyard itself. It was interesting to see how gravestone styles change over time – something you definitely don’t think about. For example in the early parts of the last century, monument shaped graves were pretty common, now, there are very few which are recent. I expected to see more differences in how the graves of women and men; there were differences, but they were much more subtle.

On dual grave markers, the husband and wife are represented as equals, side by side, and both would say about the same thing, “Loving Mother, Loving Father.” If the man had served in the military, he would also be recognized for that – either in the epitaph, or a little metal insignia symbol. Quite a few were from WWII, and women played a huge role on the “home front” during that time, but I didn’t see any recognition on graves here – perhaps as they were not “officially” in the military, had no unit #, or formal type of training. Upon doing some research I learned that women were not fully in the military to train until 1976. Another difference I noticed was how the headstones of women tended to be more emotional than the men’s.

 

Not Another Trashy Blog

This assignment truthfully scared me a little at first, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and found it to be really interesting – my own record and the one I analyzed. I do want to note how so often we are told always how we live in such a materialistic and consumerist society, which I don’t disagree with, but I honestly expected more refuse from myself and the sample I analyzed. After the first day of recording, I was definitely very aware of what I was throwing away and wondered how someone else would interpret it.  When I first looked at the sample I was analyzing, I didn’t think I would be able to guess as much about the person as I was able to, but a few items here and there definitely helped get a clearer picture, from papers to other items, although I still would not put 100% into my guess of gender and socioeconomic status. This is the first archaeology class I have taken with a lab, and I before this I don’t think I understood just how valuable and insightful minuscule ‘small things forgotten’ items can be towards interpreting and understanding the way a person lives. I also thought that had it been another week how my trash might have been completely different, and if the sample period had been longer what else could I guess about the person and if I would be more accurate, or would it become too much for a clear picture? We learned that people tend to underreport as well, which makes me wonder if the sample I analyzed or I did that. Garbology, while sounding very skeptical at first, definitely provides a lot of information about a person, their habits, and lifestyle, and is a very useful tool for learning about people in the modern age.

About Me – Sophia P.

Hello! My name is Sophia and I am a transfer student, majoring in Political Science and Archaeological Sciences. I have always loved history, which led me to archaeology. Some of my favorite eras to study in archaeology are pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and the Neolithic Period to the Iron Age. I first became interested in archaeology when I would visit Mexico and see the ancient sites there as a child. This was an interest I did not take very seriously in terms of school until I visited Britain a few years ago, and was blown away by how much was discovered and learned from archaeological processes. From there I decided to major in Archaeology!  In my spare time I enjoy hiking and backpacking any chance I get.