Line of Forts Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts

ISBN-10: 1584655429

ISBN-13: 9781584655428

Edition: 2006

List price: $22.95
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Description:

During the mid-eighteenth century, colonists constructed a line of forts along the northwest boundary of Massachusetts as a defense against the French and their Indian allies. Many of these "forts" were simply reinforced houses. Of the three major forts in the line, one, Fort Massachusetts, is now buried beneath a parking lot in North Adams. Of the two remaining forts, Fort Shirley in the town of Heath was excavated by Michael D. Coe of Yale University; the other, Fort Pelham in Rowe, was excavated by Daniel Ingersoll of the University of Massachusetts. To the casual observer, the sites might not seem significant--but as Coe argues, two circumstances make these forts more important to the study of eighteenth-century life in the American colonies than their modest size would indicate. First, their period of occupation was extremely short: they were built in 1744, abandoned in 1754, and never used again. Thus, they give a unique snapshot of the material culture of the time. Second, the Line of Forts is abundantly documented. The Williams family of western Massachusetts (chief among the "River Gods," the group of elite families who people Coe's story) controlled most of the colony from the Connecticut River valley west to the New York line. The Williamses were the forts' leading officers and ran their commissaries. This powerful family left voluminous documents that provide a unique window into daily life on the Massachusetts frontier and help interpret what was found in the remains of the forts. From Williams family archives and artifacts from Fort Shirley and Fort Pelham, Coe weaves a rich drama. His tale comprises the final standoff between New England's English settlers and Native Americans, the ideological conflict between Calvinistic Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, the occasional frictions between colonial militia and the British regular army, and the larger struggle between England and France for North America.
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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 6/30/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 248
Size: 7.00" wide x 10.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

Brian K. Blount is Associate Professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary.

Preface
Introduction
The River Gods
The Forts
The Documents
The Natural Setting
Geology and Landscape
Climate
Flora
Fauna
General History of the Conflict
The Indian Background
King William's War (1690-1697)
Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)
The False Peace (1713-1744)
King George's War (1744-1748)
The Building of Fort Shirley and Fort Pelham
The Siege and Capture of Louisbourg
The Building of Fort Massachusetts
The Fall of Fort Massachusetts in 1746
The Rebuilding of Fort Massachusetts
The Second Attack on Fort Massachusetts
Another Peace (1748-1754)
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) Begins
Fort Massachusetts and Crown Point
The Dark Days
Turn of the Tide and the Close of the War
The End of the Line of Forts
Fort Shirley
Construction and Occupation of the Fort
Post-abandonment History of Fort Shirley
Surface Features
Excavations and Stratigraphy
Excavation of the Well
Interpretation of the Excavated Well and Its Construction
Architecture and Activity Areas
Fort Pelham
Post-abandonment History of the Site
Surface Features of the Site
Excavations and Stratigraphy
The "Powder Magazine"
The Well
The "Garden" Area
Artifact Density and Distribution
Architecture and Activity Areas
The Artifacts of Shirley and Pelham
Prefatory Remarks
Ceramics
Glass
Table Implements
Jackknives
Clay Smoking Pipes
Coins
Clothing Hardware
Miscellaneous Brass Artifacts
Bone or Ivory Comb
Tin-plated Iron Artifacts
Miscellaneous Iron Artifacts
Lead
Gunflints
The Wood in Shirley's Well
Overview
Daily Life in the Line of Forts
The People in the Forts
Material Culture
Military Artifacts
Food and Drink
Health and Sanitation
Recreation and Self-improvement
Religion on the Massachusetts Frontier
Summary and Conclusions
The Patronage Pyramid
The Consumer Revolution on the Massachusetts Frontier
Social Differentiation
The Line of Forts as a Real Estate Venture
Aftermath: Twilight of the River Gods
Military Foodways at Fort Pelham, a Faunal Analysis
Paleobotanical Remains
Forts in the Line and Related Forts
Biographical Sketches
John Hawks's Journal
Bibliography
Index
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