Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey, The Robinson Property

Author(s): Jennifer L. Bonner; Elizabeth Kiniry

Year: 2003


Hassanamesit, meaning place of small stones and located in present day Grafton, was the third of fourteen Praying Indian towns established by the Reverend John Eliot in the 17th Century to convert Native Americans to Christianity. Established in 1645, by 1671 Hassanamesit contained sixty residents and was the second village, after Natick, to achieve full church status and build a meetinghouse. Based on research by UMass Center for Cultural and Environmental History (CCEH), the 200+ acre Robinson property, known as "Hassanamessit Woods" is confirmed to have been included within the boundaries of Hassanamesit and the likelihood that archaeological remains survive intact is high. The Reconnaissance Survey of the property was conducted by the CCEH for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and funded by a grant from the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission. An Intensive (locational) Archaeological survey was not possible because the landowner denied access for subsurface testing. Based on the documentary evidence and the walkover survey, it is confirmed that the Hassanamesit Woods Property was included within the boundaries of the 17th century praying village, Hassanamesit. Further, the historical records consistently point to this place as the location of the "church," presumably the social center of the praying village. The earliest deeds for the Robinson property (1728) show Native land ownership which continued well into the 19th and 20th centuries. This extraordinarily unusual documentary chain of evidence contributes to the conclusion that a significant portion of the 17th century praying village and later historic period Native occupation was located with Hassanamesit Woods. Finally, the stonewalls, foundation and cobblestone terraces located during the walkover survey conform to parcel data compiled from deed research and historic maps, and are likely material remains of the Native occupation of the property.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey, The Robinson Property. Jennifer L. Bonner, Elizabeth Kiniry. Cultural Resources Management Study ,10. 2003 ( tDAR id: 371578) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8KH0KW5

Spatial Coverage

min long: -71.816; min lat: 42.204 ; max long: -71.575; max lat: 42.244 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Jeanne Johnson

Principal Investigator(s): Stephen Mrozowski; David Landon


General Note: See also tDAR ID 371763, 372295

File Information

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