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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Abstract

Stone tools have been found at all Nipmuc-related house sites in central Massachusetts dating from the 17th through 20th centuries. This article explores in detail the lithic assemblage recovered from the kitchen midden of the late 18th and early 19th century Sarah Burnee/Sarah Boston farmstead in Grafton, Massachusetts. Quartz and quartzite lithics were found in similar concentrations as historic ceramics within the midden suggesting that these tools were in active use within the household. Ground-stone tools of ancient origin indicate curation and reuse of older materials, and knapped glass and re-worked gunflints suggest knowledge of flintknapping. This article argues that despite colonial rules forbidding traditional Native practices, this and other Nipmuc families continued to practice the production and use of lithics for at least 300 years after the arrival of Europeans.

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