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THE MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER PROGRAM IN ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND PRESERVATION Brian D.

Jones Public Archaeology Survey Team

ABSTRACT
The Mashantucket Pequot reservation is one of the best-researched archaeological landscapes in New England. Cooperation between the Tribe and archaeologists has been positive and ongoing since the early 1980s. Initial work on the Reservation was focused on ethnohistorical research and the documentation ofPequot homesteads as well as important historical sites such as Mystic Fort. At this time archaeological work focused on extensive reconnaissance surveys. With the success of Foxwoods and the expansion of the Tribal land base, reservation development increased at a rapid pace and tribal archaeology shifted to Cultural Resource Management efforts. This resulted in notable increase in data recovery excavations of threatened sites. With the establishment of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, data recovery efforts have continued under a more formalized organization that increases cooperation between Tribal departments.

PHASES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND HERITAGE ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL REMAINS ON THE MASHANTUCKET RESERVATION 1983-2003 Phase I 1983-1989: Development of a Historic Context for Sites at Mashantucket In the fall of 1982, shortly before the Mashantucket Pequot tribe was recognized by the federal government, tribal chairman Richard Hayward approached University of Connecticut graduate student Kevin McBride while developing ideas for the creation of a Mashantucket Pequot museum. Hayward indicated to McBride that there was a lot of "interesting stuff' on the 214-acre Reservation that he might be interested in "checking out." McBride subsequently confirmed the presence of numerous above ground cultural features and archaeological sites in undisturbed forested settings, recognizing their significance and securing research funding through a National Parks Service Survey and Planning Grant administered through the Connecticut Historical Commission. With tribal recognition in 1983, the Reservation's settlement boundary grew to encompass 2000 acres and additional funding became available through the Bureau of Indian Affairs under their program of aid to tribal governments for historic preservation: This grant funded preliminary studies focused on primary source document research, oral history, and archaeological surveys. Based largely on this effort, in 1986, the 214 original acres of the 'Mashantucket

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78 Reservation was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also in 1986, the flrst Cultural Resource Management (CRM) survey was conducted on the grounds of the proposed Tribal Bingo Hall. In 1987, the tribe received a National Park Service/Connecticut Historical Commission Survey and Planning Grant to conduct reservation-based ethnohistorical research and to locate the site of the Mystic Fort massacre of 1937 on the west bank of the Mystic River in the town of Groton. This site was successfully found and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. During the 1980s, archaeological activity focused on reconnaissance and sensitivity assessment of the growing Pequot Reservation. Thousands of test pits were excavated. Most of the currently known sites on the Reservation were identifled during this seven-year period. Despite this level of activity, only six sites were investigated under research-oriented data-recovery programs (72-30a, 72-31, 72-34a, 72-34b, 72-39 and 72-99). Just 232 square meters were excavated during this phase of research. Much of this excavation was accomplished by the University of Connecticut's Field School in Archaeology program directed by Dr. McBride. A 1987 Historic Restoration Fund Grant provided funding to examine 3 late eighteenth century Pequot farmsteads (72-41, 72-85, and 72-70b) and conduct initial assessment of Native land-use patterns on the Reservation (PAST, Inc. n.d.). McBride (1990), summarized archaeological research on the Reservation during this phase in a presentation at the Mashantucket Pequot Historical Conference of 1987.
Phase II 1990-1998: Tribal Economic Development and CRM-based Archaeology

With the success of the Mashantucket Bingo Hall and soon thereafter the Foxwoods Casino, funding for further economic development became available to the tribe and a period of intensive building projects ensued. During this time, the tribe was able to purchase a large amount of land within and around the settlement boundary established when it was federally recognized in 1983. This increased the scope of archaeological survey to about 2000 acres. Projects included Casino expansions, parking facilities and large housing developments with the associated infrastructure of roads, water and sewer lines. McBride now refers to this era as the "nineties scramble." This period began with the accidental discovery of the Long Pond Cemetery by private developers just south of the Reservation. The flnd came to light just after passage of legislation protecting unmarked graves, the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and the establishment of the Connecticut Native American Advisory Council created to mediate between parties when there was an accidental discovery of human remains. This law provided for negotiation between landowners, developers, town planners and the Native community to resolve issues of preservation, excavation, and repatriation. Long Pond was a very successful flrst test of the law in Connecticut and remams an example of functional cooperation between numerous potentially hostile factions. In the spring of 1992, the Secretary of the Interior designated the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation Archaeological District as a National His'toric Landmark

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(McBride and Grumet 1996). This area comprised some 1600 acres of Federal Trust Lands within the designated Reservation settlement area. That same summer, the Fort at Mashantucket, a 17'h century fortified site, was located during an archaeological survey prior to construction of a maintenance facility (McBride 1996). Cooperation with tribal planners resulted in the complete avoidance of the site area and excavations there were able to follow a research design path rather than focus on rescue-driven data recovery. A National Parks Service grant provided additional funds for archaeological and historical documentation of this rare historic period native fort. This was probably a first successful test of cooperative negotiation and planning between tribal departments which had in principle agreed that where it was "prudent and feasible" archaeological sites were to be avoided during development (see e.g. McBride 1995). Another example followed shortly when a power plant facility for the casino was relocated after the discovery of the Late Paleoindian Hidden Creek site 72-163 (Jones 1997, 1998). When it was not possible to avoid destruction, sites were excavated. This period therefore marked a shift to much more intensive data recovery efforts across the Reservation. Some important sites excavated at this time included the two late eighteenth century farmsteads 72-66 and 72-161, a prehistoric multi-component site, 72-55 (Tveskov n.d.), the fITst phase of intensive data recovery at the Early Archaic base camp Sandy Hill, 72-97 (Forrest 1999), and numerous smaller historic and prehistoric sites (e.g. Jones 1999). During the eight years of this phase of CRM-based archaeological activity, 129 sites were investigated (about sixteen per year) and over 1800 square meters were excavated during data recovery efforts. While University of Connecticut Field Schools continued to focus on Reservation sites, most of the excavation was performed by the Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc.
Phase ITI 1998-the present: Tribal Archaeology Through the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

The opening of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in 1998 marked an important transition in Reservation archaeology. Relationships between archaeologists and tribal departments were formalized with the development of a museum research department with full-time staff. Twelve full-time positions pertain to heritage preservation and archaeology at the museum and include: The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Museum Director. Two Administrative Directors within the Research Department, who communicate with tribal members, council and tribal development departments, and oversee department organization and direction. A Tribal Historian, who is supported by two full-time research assistants and student interns.

80 Four full-time archaeologists, who are responsible for fieldwork and laboratory analysis are supported by three to four part-time employees, as well as interns and some volunteers. The Museum Conservator, who also is a specialist in soil microstatigraphy and analysis. The Museum Curator, who is an authority on 18 th century Native American material culture. Formalized relations between the museum and the tribe's development planners currently insure that the research department must participate in the planning and implementation of all ground-disruptive projects. Because avoidance is not always possible, and the pace of economic development has not slowed since the construction of the museum, CRM-based reconnaissance and data recovery continue to be the rule. However, there has been a clear shift to more detailed data recovery efforts since a fulltime staff has been present at the museum. The museum now operates under a mixed research/CRM-based model that allows more detailed block excavation. of important sites to occur than is normally feasible under typical construction budgets and timetables. As noted, this transition began during the mid-1990s but did not establish itself as a standard until after 1998. Exemplary projects that have enjoyed reasonably intensive data recovery include the late 18th century farmstead 72-208, the second phase of excavation at Sandy Hill, 72-97 (Forrest 1999), the Late Archaic Preston Plains site 114-93, and most recently the Lake of Isles data recovery proj ect. The Lake of Isles proj ect encompassed the excavation of two dozen historic and prehistoric sites over a two-year period, as well as detailed document research. Most of these excavations benefited from University of Connecticut Archaeological Field School participants, many of whom continued excavations after the field school ended. Other important preservation efforts included extensive NAGPRA research for the Mashantucket Pequot tribe under a National Parks Service grant that culminated in the repatriation of human remains and funerary objects in 2001 and 2002. The research department also received a Cultural Heritage and Preservation grant through the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund, to assess a large area of the Reservation known as Indiantown. This project consisted of both primary document research and an intensive effort to map all visible cultural features on the landscape, including foundations, wells, animal pens, old road systems, miles of stone fences and hundreds of stone field-clearing piles. For the first time, many of the farmsteads initially surveyed in the mid-1980s were tied to probable Pequot families and dates of occupation. During this phase of museum-directed archaeology on the Reservation, fifty-two sites were examined (about ten per year) and over 1400 units were excavated during data recovery efforts.
ASSESSMENT

Figure 1 summarizes field archaeology efforts at Mashantucket for the three phases discussed above. I have simplified the extensive data in the archaeological

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inventory to reflect only reconnaissance (Phase I & II test-pitting) and data recovery (Phase III excavation) efforts in terms of annual artifact yield. This is meant to provide a sense of the focus and degree of archaeological research for these three phases. It is evident that work through the 1980s (Phase I) was primarily concerned with site location efforts. Nearly thirty percent of all inventoried artifacts recovered from this period stem from reconnaissance test pits. The data recovery emphasis under tribal economic development activities is evident in the next bar. Ninety percent of all artifacts recovered between 1990 and 1997, came from data recovery contexts. Additionally, the number of artifacts recovered per year increased by over an order of magnitude during this period, indicating the new intensity of recovery efforts. Since the construction of the museum, data recovery efforts have swamped those of reconnaissance. This partly reflects the fact that most currently known sites on the Reservation had been located by this time, but is also an expression of the increased focus on research-oriented block excavations. The overall intensity of excavations has more than doubled under museum-based archaeological management as expressed in the annual artifact yield since the mid-l 990s. Nearly 3500 square meters have been excavated unde;r data recovery efforts since the 1980s. Importantly, the number of sites examined during each phase of activity at Mashantucket has held relatively constant at about twelve per year.

CONCLUSIONS

While it is clear that historic preservation efforts have been intensive since the creation of the museum, the graph shown can also be interpreted in another way. In an ideal world, most archaeological sites would be preserved and data-recovery would be limited. While this may be one of the goals of most historic preservation efforts it is seldom feasible. On the Reservation, as across the rest of the state, CRM mitigation efforts involve a sometimes complex dance of compromise between developers and archaeologists. On the Reservation, the spatial constraints of a very limited land-base insure that historic resources are often unavoidable. In the end, when avoidance is not possible, archaeologists must be satisfied with the opportunity to sample the material record at most archaeological sites. While our efforts to remove as much significant information as possible from most sites have generally been successful, compromise between the economic needs of the tribe and the research desires of the archaeologist, is always the reality. While historic preservation efforts at Mashantucket have been both intensive and very successful, there is always room for improvement. Planning and development decisions can occur very rapidly within the organization of tribal government. This sometimes results in hurried reconnaissance and data recovery schedules. The tribe's properties department that oversees construction projects maintains a Geographical Information System (GIS)-based inventory of important cultural resources on the reservation. Current mapping and excavation proj ects now take advantage of state of the art GIS technology based on the use of a network of precise ground control points and the extensive use of total stations equipped with data collectors. Nevertheless, the spatial

80 Four full-time archaeologists, who are responsible for fieldwork and laboratory analysis are supported by three to four part-time employees, as well as interns and some volunteers. The Museum Conservator, who also is a specialist in soil microstatigraphy and analysis. The Museum Curator, who is an authority on 18 th century Native American material culture. Formalized relations between the museum and the tribe's development planners currently insure that the research department must participate in the planning and implementation of all ground-disruptive projects. Because avoidance is not always possible, and the pace of economic development has not slowed since the construction of the museum, CRM-based reconnaissance and data recovery continue to be the rule. However, there has been a clear shift to more detailed data recovery efforts since a fulltime staff has been present at the museum. The museum now operates under a mixed research/CRM-based model that allows more detailed block excavation. of important sites to occur than is normally feasible under typical construction budgets and timetables. As noted, this transition began during the mid-1990s but did not establish itself as a standard until after 1998. Exemplary projects that have enjoyed reasonably intensive data recovery include the late 18th century farmstead 72-208, the second phase of excavation at Sandy Hill, 72-97 (Forrest 1999), the Late Archaic Preston Plains site 114-93, and most recently the Lake of Isles data recovery proj ect. The Lake of Isles proj ect encompassed the excavation of two dozen historic and prehistoric sites over a two-year period, as well as detailed document research. Most of these excavations benefited from University of Connecticut Archaeological Field School participants, many of whom continued excavations after the field school ended. Other important preservation efforts included extensive NAGPRA research for the Mashantucket Pequot tribe under a National Parks Service grant that culminated in the repatriation of human remains and funerary objects in 2001 and 2002. The research department also received a Cultural Heritage and Preservation grant through the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund, to assess a large area of the Reservation known as Indiantown. This project consisted of both primary document research and an intensive effort to map all visible cultural features on the landscape, including foundations, wells, animal pens, old road systems, miles of stone fences and hundreds of stone field-clearing piles. For the first time, many of the farmsteads initially surveyed in the mid-I980s were tied to probable Pequot families and dates of occupation. During this phase of museum-directed archaeology on the Reservation, fifty-two sites were examined (about ten per year) and over 1400 units were excavated during data recovery efforts.
ASSESSMENT

Figure I summarizes field archaeology efforts at Mashantucket for the three phases discussed above. I have simplified the extensive data in the archaeological

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database needs further refinement that will more adequately clarify actual site boundaries, rather than approximate central locations. Because of the huge number of recovered artifacts, most museum laboratory resources are spent on artifact inventory maintenance. Time for site analysis is short. If the pace of development slows, the immediate goal is to shift the museum focus to laboratory analysis and report preparation. There is a wealth of information in our records that awaits fonnal publication. Finally, while the museum director is the acting Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, the tribe has yet to formalize a Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THIPO) with the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. Once done, this will provide some additional funds for the museum staff. Currently, the tribe has consultant status for federal and state archaeological projects within New London county and parts of Southwestern Rhode Island. The establishment of a formal THIPO office will streamline and formalize communication between the tribe and federal and state agencies. To summarize, archaeological and historical research of lands owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe has been intensive over the last two decades. This relatively small land area of ca. 4000 acres (which includes the Reservation as well as nearby properties), is probably the best understood small archaeological landscape in the Northeast, and is certainly one of the most carefully examined in North America. A wealth of archaeological data has been wrested from the earth across this landscape, though much of it remains to be fully assessed. On this research-oriented level, preservation has been remarkably successfuL However, in terms of site avoidance and preservation, there is still ground to be gained.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am grateful to Dr. Kevin McBride (MPMRC & University of Connecticut) for his help and discussions in putting together this short summary of tribal archaeology on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation and to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council for their generous support of archaeology on the Reservation for the past two decades. Any historical or other inaccuracies are solely the responsibility of the author.

REFERENCES CITED

Forrest, Daniel 1999 Beyond Presence and Absence: Establishing Diversity in Connecticut's Early Holocene Archaeological Record. Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut 62:79-98. Jones, Brian 1997

The Late Paleoindian Hidden Creek Site in Southeastern Connecticut. Archaeology of Eastern North America 25:45-80. '

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1998

Human Adaptation to the Changing Northeastern Environment at the End of the Pleistocene: Implications for the Archaeological Record. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Connecticut. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, No. 9906705.
The Middle Archaic Period in Connecticut: The View From Mashantucket. Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut 62:101-123.

1999

McBride, Kevin A. 1990 The Historical Archaeology of the Mashantucket Pequots, 1637-1975. In The Pequots in Southern New England: The Fall and Rise of an Ancient American Nation, edited by 1. M. Hauptman and J. D. Wherry, pp. 96116. University of Oklahoma Press, London. 1995 CRM and Native Americans: An Example From the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation. CRM18:3:15-17. The Legacy of Robin Cassacinamon: Mashantucket Pequot Leadership in the Historic Period. Northeastern Indian Lives, 1632-1816. Edited by Robert S. Grumet. University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

1996

McBride, Kevin A. and Robert Grumet 1996 The Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation Archaeological District: A National Historic Landmark. Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut 59: 15-26. Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc. n.d. Final Report, FY 1987 Historic Restoration Fund Grant, Archaeological Investigations Sites 72-41, 72-85, 72-70b/59. Prepared for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council and the Connecticut Historical Commission by the Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc. P. 1. Kevin McBride, Field Directors David George and Ross Harper, Project Manager Mary Soulsby. Unpublished report on file at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Tveskov, Mark n.d. A Preliminary Report on Excavations and Analysis of Site 72-55, Mashantucket, Connecticut: Unpublished report on file at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, submitted 1992.

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Annual Artifact Yield at Mashantucket


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Figure 1.

Average annual artifact yield at Mashantucket during the three phases of Reservation archaeology summarized in the text: 1983-1989, 1990-1997, and 1998 through the present. Note that the proportion of artifacts recovered during phase I&I1 reconnaissance surveys has dropped steadily over time as emphasis shifte"d"to phase III data recovery excavations. Also apparent is the dramatic rise in recovered artifacts as archaeologists intensified excavations on the Reservation.