Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.
College of Liberal Arts
Dianna L. Doucette
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Archaic, pithouses, New England
Semi-subterranean habitation structures, also referred to as pithouses have been interpreted on archaeological sites across North America and over a long span of time, up to 9,000 radiocarbon years before present (RCYBP) and are still used today. Although pithouses or earth lodges may vary in their size, shape, and construction, they share the following attributes: a floor, hearth, depression, and post molds. Experimental archaeology based on ethnographic studies used to reconstruct pithouses has helped define the archaeological signatures of pre-contact pithouses. The high investment of time and labor needed for the construction of large features, such as pithouses, storage pits, and ossuaries has been documented for pre-contact period peoples. Understanding how these large features fit into the Archaic period (10,000 to 3,000 RCYBP) has been challenging for archaeologists in the Northeast, and more specifically in southern New England where soil strata and depositional events are often blurred or erased by bioturbation. By evaluating and comparing archaeological features from known pithouses in southern New England, this thesis aimed to develop a model and test the suspected pithouse features at the Halls Swamp site in Kingston, Massachusetts.
The model was used to evaluate a concentration of features identified at the Halls Swamp site which confirmed a Late Archaic period pithouse at this multi-component site. The presence of this feature type suggests fall and winter occupations along wetlands often taking advantage of slopes in sandy soils. Additional spatial, depositional, and grain size analysis along with a newly acquired radiocarbon date, was used in conjunction with previously reported data to test the model and overall connect this concentration of features to one single event.
Flynn, Erin, "Searching for Archaic Semi-Subterranean Habitation At the Halls Swamp Site in Southern New England" (2020). Culminating Projects in Cultural Resource Management. 37.