The Function of a Nail: An Archaeological Examination of Three 18th- and 19th-Century Eastern Pequot Reservation Homes in Southeastern Connecticut
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
Stephen W. Silliman
Douglas J. Bolender
This thesis examines three indigenous households excavated on the Eastern Pequot reservation in North Stonington, Connecticut. Architectural artifact and spatial analyses, combined with historical documents, are utilized to understand reservation building practices of Native Americans navigating colonialism in the 18th and 19th century. The homes are small in design with at least one window and one stone chimney each. They all possessed cellars, but not all are stone-lined. Nails and window glass serve as the primary architectural artifact classes in this work, with an emphasis on their manufacture and modification. Examining nail and glass type, quantity, modification, and spatial patterns facilitates discussion on the forms Eastern Pequot homes took and how they entered the archaeological record. Furthermore, historical records combined with archaeological evidence suggest repairs were made to the homes or materials recycled from them. Documents highlight the relationship between the overseer and tribal members on the reservation and suggest overseers played an active role in Eastern Pequot home maintenance, at least in the 19th century. Results indicate that when these homes entered the archaeological record, they were intentionally demolished, although perhaps not immediately after the residents left. This historical and material evidence offers insight on Eastern Pequot strategies to navigating reservation life during colonialism of the 18th and 19th century.
Ciccone, Salvatore A., "The Function of a Nail: An Archaeological Examination of Three 18th- and 19th-Century Eastern Pequot Reservation Homes in Southeastern Connecticut" (2022). Graduate Masters Theses. 753.