Catalogue


The line of forts : historical archaeology on the colonial frontier of Massachusetts /
Michael D. Coe.
imprint
Hanover, N.H. : University Press of New England, c2006.
description
xii, 234 p.
ISBN
1584655429 (paperback : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Hanover, N.H. : University Press of New England, c2006.
isbn
1584655429 (paperback : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5916593
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Michael D. Coe is Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at Yale University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-06-01:
Coe (emer., Yale) has produced one of the few archaeological studies of frontier forts of the French and Indian War. This volume reports on the excavations Coe carried out in 1974 at Fort Shirley and Fort Pelham, excavated by Daniel Ingersoll in 1971-72 and Coe in 1976. Occupied between 1744 and 1754, there were 17 small forts (many of them fortified houses) situated in a line along the Massachusetts and Vermont border west of the Connecticut River to prevent incursions by the French and their Indian allies into southern New England. Not only does Coe present in detail the excavations and artifacts of Shirley and Pelham, but he uses the extensive historic documents available in discussing the construction, garrisoning, and daily life at these military installations. He also places the line of forts within the context of the French and Indian War. The appendixes include the analysis of the faunal collection from Pelham, the paleobotanical remains from both forts, biographical sketches of 66 soldiers stationed at the forts, and the journal of John Hawks, one of the soldiers. This well-illustrated book is a must for those interested in border defense during the French and Indian War. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. J. B. Richardson III University of Pittsburgh
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A must for those interested in border defense during the French and Indian War."--CHOICE
"A must for those interested in border defense during the French and Indian War."ÑCHOICE
"Michael Coe has done a superb job blending primary sources with his archaelogical findings. It is amazing how one summer's dig some 32 years ago became the catalyst for so much historical research and interpretation, culminating in this attractive volume." --Historical Archaeology
"Michael Coe has done a superb job blending primary sources with his archaelogical findings. It is amazing how one summer's dig some 32 years ago became the catalyst for so much historical research and interpretation, culminating in this attractive volume." ÑHistorical Archaeology
"Not only does Coe present in detail the excavations and artifacts of Shirley and Pelham, but he uses the extensive historic documents available in discussing the construction, garrisoning, and daily life at these military installations. He also places the line of forts within the context of the French and Indian War. The appendixes include the analysis of the faunal collection from Pelham, the paleobotanical remains from both forts, biographical sketches of 66 soldiers stationed at the forts, and the journal of John Hawks, one of the soldiers. This well-illustrated book is a must for those interested in border defense during the French and Indian War. Summing Up: Essential."--Choice
"Two and one-half centuries pass, and the archaeologist's trowel uncovers in the debris of those colonial outposts, offering glimpses of what life was like on the frontier: musket balls, broken utensils, fragments of pottery; fish hooks and bits of animal bones. This is the fascination of archaeology. So much has been lost, but so much has been preserved."--Milford (NH) Cabinet
"Two and one-half centuries pass, and the archaeologist's trowel uncovers in the debris of those colonial outposts, offering glimpses of what life was like on the frontier: musket balls, broken utensils, fragments of pottery; fish hooks and bits of animal bones. This is the fascination of archaeology. So much has been lost, but so much has been preserved."ÑMilford (NH) Cabinet
"Coe is a marvelous writer, and his scholarship is impeccable; here he brings forth the results of work done nearly 20 years ago in a publication that is most welcome because of renewed interest in English-Indian relationships on the Massachusetts frontier. This work is a truly original contribution to archaeological and historical scholarship on colonial New England during the tempestuous years of uneasy compromises, distrust, and warfare between colonists and Native Americans. It is a book that all historical archaeologists working in New England will want; historians will also find it invaluable."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2007
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Summaries
Main 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.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
The River Godsp. 3
The Fortsp. 5
The Documentsp. 5
The Natural Settingp. 7
Geology and Landscapep. 7
Climatep. 8
Florap. 10
Faunap. 11
General History of the Conflictp. 16
The Indian Backgroundp. 16
King William's War (1690-1697)p. 18
Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)p. 19
The False Peace (1713-1744)p. 21
King George's War (1744-1748)p. 23
The Building of Fort Shirley and Fort Pelhamp. 24
The Siege and Capture of Louisbourgp. 28
The Building of Fort Massachusettsp. 29
The Fall of Fort Massachusetts in 1746p. 31
The Rebuilding of Fort Massachusettsp. 34
The Second Attack on Fort Massachusettsp. 36
Another Peace (1748-1754)p. 38
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) Beginsp. 40
Fort Massachusetts and Crown Pointp. 43
The Dark Daysp. 45
Turn of the Tide and the Close of the Warp. 47
The End of the Line of Fortsp. 49
Fort Shirleyp. 52
Construction and Occupation of the Fortp. 52
Post-abandonment History of Fort Shirleyp. 53
Surface Featuresp. 57
Excavations and Stratigraphyp. 60
Excavation of the Wellp. 62
Interpretation of the Excavated Well and Its Constructionp. 68
Architecture and Activity Areasp. 70
Fort Pelhamp. 75
Post-abandonment History of the Sitep. 75
Surface Features of the Sitep. 78
Excavations and Stratigraphyp. 79
The "Powder Magazine"p. 81
The Wellp. 84
The "Garden" Areap. 84
Artifact Density and Distributionp. 85
Architecture and Activity Areasp. 87
The Artifacts of Shirley and Pelhamp. 90
Prefatory Remarksp. 90
Ceramicsp. 90
Glassp. 93
Table Implementsp. 95
Jackknivesp. 98
Clay Smoking Pipesp. 98
Coinsp. 101
Clothing Hardwarep. 103
Miscellaneous Brass Artifactsp. 103
Bone or Ivory Combp. 105
Tin-plated Iron Artifactsp. 106
Miscellaneous Iron Artifactsp. 106
Leadp. 109
Gunflintsp. 112
The Wood in Shirley's Wellp. 112
Overviewp. 113
Daily Life in the Line of Fortsp. 117
The People in the Fortsp. 117
Material Culturep. 119
Military Artifactsp. 121
Food and Drinkp. 121
Health and Sanitationp. 125
Recreation and Self-improvementp. 127
Religion on the Massachusetts Frontierp. 129
Summary and Conclusionsp. 134
The Patronage Pyramidp. 134
The Consumer Revolution on the Massachusetts Frontierp. 136
Social Differentiationp. 138
The Line of Forts as a Real Estate Venturep. 139
Aftermath: Twilight of the River Godsp. 141
Military Foodways at Fort Pelham, a Faunal Analysisp. 147
Paleobotanical Remainsp. 169
Forts in the Line and Related Fortsp. 174
Biographical Sketchesp. 176
John Hawks's Journalp. 195
Bibliographyp. 219
Indexp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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