Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David Landon

Second Advisor

Stephen Silliman

Third Advisor

Kevin McBride


Burned on May 26, 1637, during the Pequot War, the Pequot site of Calluna Hill in Mystic, Connecticut was once known only from an entry in the diary of Captain John Mason. Mason led the raid on Mistick Fort and the subsequent retreat during which the village was razed. The site was discovered during an archaeological survey of Pequot War sites, and, in the process, multiple shell middens were identified. These middens are comprised of a wide assortment of shells and material culture that offer a view of how shellfish were incorporated into village life at the time. This thesis is a study of the variability of the species recovered from seven identified shell middens. It analyzes shellfish gathering practices and midden formation processes. The species present suggest shellfish were used primarily as a form of sustenance at Calluna Hill, while there is evidence of repurposing for the creation of wampum beads. By investigating the degrees of size and variability between the middens, this project presents a better understanding of Pequot shellfish utilization and deposition during the early seventeenth century, a period of cultural change and conflict in Southern New England. It also allows for the Pequot people to be studied as a single, unified tribe months before the war ended, splitting the tribe into the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.


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