Eastern Pequot Archaeological Field School: A Community Partnership

Dr. Stephen Silliman, professor and Graduate Program Director of the Historical Archaeology M.A. Program at UMass Boston, has been working with his students in a community-based collaboration with the EPTN as part of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation Archaeological Field School since 2003. His work has uncovered a wealth of archaeological artifacts on the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation Reservation, some dating back thousands of years.

In regards to the projects impact, EPTN Chair Katherine Sebastian-Dring, J.D. said, “We found projectile points and stone tools that date back from 2000 years to 7000 years old and you won’t find any documentation about that, particularly about the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, except for what’s documented here.”

The field school works alongside members of the tribe, teaching them delicate excavation techniques. When excavation units are closed, a tobacco offering is made to express gratitude and acknowledge that the Earth has been disturbed.

Of the collaboration, tribal member Wolf Jackson said, “It gives them a good understanding as to who we are as a people because there’s not enough written about us in history books. And secondarily helps the tribe itself as it moves forward in it’s development stages and helps us to determine where things are… so that as we develop we are sensitive to things that have been here before us. “

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