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Anthropogenic Landscapes in Southern New England: An Archaeological Investigation of Farming Practices on an Eighteenth Century Colonial Farmstead in Southeastern Connecticut

Author(s): Moriah McKenna ; Anthony Graesch

Year: 2017

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Summary

The now-forested New England landscape has been shaped substantially by long-term human activities. Partitioned by thousands of miles of stone walls, the young and dense woodlands visible today are a consequence of intensive clear-cutting and farming activities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this study, we apply the theory and method of landscape archaeology to the study of farming practices at an eighteenth century, 49-acre colonial farmstead in southeastern Connecticut. We present data collected with an array of methods - LiDAR, penetrometry, archaeological reconnaissance, subsurface testing, vegetative survey, and aerial photography - that, when combined, provide a fuller synthesis of humans’ uses of landscape. We highlight, in particular, the results of pedestrian survey, and we show how typologies of stone concentrations and stone wall barways may be productively linked to variability in routine agricultural practices across farmstead fields. When aggregated in a GIS, these data not only shed light on relationships of past land use to contemporary plant communities, but they also provide a spatial and economic context in which to consider the roles of slavery and indentured labor on early colonial farms.


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Anthropogenic Landscapes in Southern New England: An Archaeological Investigation of Farming Practices on an Eighteenth Century Colonial Farmstead in Southeastern Connecticut. Moriah McKenna, Anthony Graesch. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430675)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15832

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America