New Perspectives on the Native History and Archaeology of Block Island

Author(s): Kevin McBride

Year: 2018


Supported by the U.S. National Park Service's Historic Preservation Fund program to identify coastal archaeological sites damaged by 2012's Hurricane Sandy in Rhode Island, archaeological surveys of Block Island were conducted in 2014 and 2015. The survey identified 163 archaeological sites of which 33 were tested and partially excavated. Previous archaeological surveys of Block Island concluded that a high frequency, density, and complexity of Woodland (2700 – 400 years before present (B.P.) and Contact Period (400 – 350 B.P.) archaeological sites located on landforms immediately adjacent to the interior salt ponds with far fewer, and much less complex sites located on the bluffs along the seaward coastline. Larger and more complex permanent and semi-permanent village sites were believed to be located almost exclusively along the salt ponds with smaller temporary and task specific sites associated with freshwater swamps and ponds throughout the interior and near coastal areas of the island. The identification of several large seaward Woodland and Contact Period coastal sites suggest a much more complex settlement pattern than previously believed. These sites are believed to represent spring fishing camps, indicating that earlier reconstructions of Native settlement patterns on Block Island need to be revised.

Cite this Record

New Perspectives on the Native History and Archaeology of Block Island. Kevin McBride. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444258)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22526