Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Rosalyn Negrón

Second Advisor

Stephen W. Silliman

Third Advisor

Judith Zeitlin


This thesis examines the events leading to the Great Migration through a series of organizational and social multiscalar networks beginning with the formation of the Dorchester Company in the early 1620s and following the movement through to the Massachusetts Bay Company to 1630. Moving from causal explanations for this movement defined by joint stock company investment alone, this study identifies moments of change between the two companies through the analysis of kinship and community networks of the same set of joint stock company investors. For this thesis, I use two research methods: (1) a prosopographical database created to organize the historical data of investors in the Dorchester Company and the Massachusetts Bay Company and (2) social network analysis applied to study the relationships of the actors found within these two sets. This thesis challenges the usage of common network metaphors to describe the multiplex relationships of historical actors. Here, SNA offers a way to describe more exactly what labeling an individual or group as “well-connected” during this period means. For this thesis, data were retrieved from archives in England and the United States, and the data collection process illuminated dimensions of history and heritage production that connect sites on either side of the Atlantic. As a transatlantic study, this research specifically considers the construction and reimagination of the identity of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the site of the Dorchester Company’s failed attempt to establish a fishing shelter as now a working maritime community in the modern Atlantic world and the oldest seaport in the United States.


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