Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Stephen Mrozowski

Second Advisor

Stephen Silliman

Third Advisor

Rae Gould


This thesis examines the lithic assemblage from the 2005-2012 field seasons at the Sarah Boston site in Grafton, Massachusetts. The Sarah Boston site is associated with a multi-generational Nipmuc family living on the site during the late 18th through early 19th centuries. In total, 163 lithic artifacts, primarily quartz flakes and cores, were found throughout the site with concentrations north of a house foundation associated with the Nipmuc family. Reworked gunflints and worked glass were examined as examples of lithic practice associated with artifacts that are conclusively datable to the period after European arrival. Presence of quartz artifacts in an undisturbed B-horizon demonstrates a much-earlier Native component to the Sarah Boston site. Lithics and ground stone tools present in the later intact midden deposit demonstrate that the Nipmuc family interacted with these materials. Given the concentration of flakes found within the midden, it is likely that some portion of these flakes as well as the reworked gunflints and knapped glass were actively used, and perhaps produced, by the occupants of the house as an alternative or replacement of other tools, including iron. This thesis concludes that the practice of knapping persisted on this site into the 19th century indicating a cultural continuity of Nipmuc cultural practices and identity in addition to the adoption of European-produced ceramics, iron knives, and other later materials.