Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Second Advisor

Stephen W. Silliman

Third Advisor

Julia A. King


This thesis examines the archaeological assemblages from three sequentially-occupied sites related to the displacement of Maryland’s Piscataway tribe: the Windy Knoll I site in Charles County, Maryland, the Heater’s Island site in Frederick County, Maryland, and the Conoy Town site in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These sites represent discrete occupations along the group’s northward migration between 1680 and 1743, prompted by conflict with English colonists in their homeland. This analysis focuses mainly on stone artifacts (including tools, debitage, and gunflints) and the changing nature of lithic tool manufacture and use as the Piscataway adjusted to new physical and social geographies encountered in dislocation. The analysis of stone artifacts is also considered in relation to trends in the manufacture and use of other materials, including ceramic pots, clay pipes, and beads, as well as European-made analogs to these items. Although historical records document Piscataway efforts to distance themselves from the encroachment and harassment of English colonists by vacating their ancestral lands, archaeological evidence indicates an increased reliance on European goods coupled with an apparent decline in traditional stone tool and ceramic manufacture. These changing material conditions demonstrate some of the disruptive effects of displacement, including new constraints on raw material access and altered social relations. The adjustments made by the Piscataway to these new circumstances reflect the group’s efforts to preserve tribal and cultural autonomy in the face of colonization.


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