What Makes a Home? Searching for Wetus in Archaic New England

Author(s): Erin Flynn

Year: 2017


Archaic Period dwellings have largely gone unnoticed in New England due to poor preservation and thousands of years of bioturbation. However, a concentration of post molds, large and small pits, and fire hearths uncovered at the Halls Swamp Site in southeastern Massachusetts are attributes that characterize, and have been associated with, the few Native American semi-subterranean dwellings identified in New England. Recognizing structural attributes is essential for understanding Native American settlement patterns, intra-site complexity, socio-political structure, and population data. Small groups or families during the Archaic Period may not have only used the typically-portrayed wetus of the Contact Period, and it’s important to think beyond the norm. Furthermore, the Halls Swamp Site has evidence for a fall and winter inland encampment, which necessitated a hardier dwelling than a summer wetu. High investment in the construction of features was not unusual for Archaic Period peoples. Comparisons of sites from Native cultures along the east coast and further west, where archaeological signatures are better preserved, have provided data in regard to structure preference in certain environmental climates or zones.

Cite this Record

What Makes a Home? Searching for Wetus in Archaic New England. Erin Flynn. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432109)



Geographic Keywords
North America - Northeast

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16781