The Complexities of Consumption: Eastern Pequot Cultural Economics in 18th-Century New England

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Colonialism shaped economic interactions between Native Americans and settlers, and placed considerable constraints on indigenous people, but Native Americans creatively negotiated these material, economic conditions in practical and cultural ways in their daily lives. By the mid-18th century, Native Americans in New England were deeply entrenched in colonial and market economies as farmhands, domestic workers, whalers, soldiers, craft producers, store customers, and consumers. The Eastern Pequot community of southeastern Connecticut serves as an example which is examined by combining data from three years of excavation of two 18th-century reservation households and the transcribed store ledgers of a local merchant from the middle of that century. Using these dual information sources that sometimes converge and other times relate to different scales or materialities, the study permits a look at the long-term processes and negotiations of colonial market economies through the lens of consumption and cultural economics.


Published in the journal, Historical Archaeology, by the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Article will become available in through databases in the Healey Library at UMass Boston in 2013.


Society for Historical Archaeology