"Monuments to a Nation Gone By": Fortified Houses, King Philip's War, and the Remaking of a New England Frontier, 1675-1725


During King Philip's War (1675-1676) in New England, English colonists and a small number of enslaved Africans and "friendly" Indians used dwelling houses as places of refuge from and attack against rival Native Americans. These garrison or fortified houses proved poor defenses; most were razed by war's end. However, antiquarians have long elevated them as places of colonial triumph and Native American disappearance. Drawing on global historical archaeologies of culture contact and colonialism, this dissertation investigates fortified houses as sites of colonial engagement on the New England frontier over five decades. Beyond attack and defense, garrison houses were also places of physical reconstruction and social rehabilitation in the war's aftermath. The dissertation first investigates how garrison houses became potent symbolic, as well as strategic, sites during King Philip's War. Then it focuses on the ten garrison houses in the Narragansett Indian homeland in Rhode Island. The next three chapters compare the landscapes, architecture, and artifacts of these sites: first, fortified houses became foci of resettlement after King Philip's War; second, colonists quickly rebuilt fortified houses, and then dramatically improved these re-creations; and third, artifacts from two garrison house sites, the Cocumscussoc Archaeological Site and the Jireh Bull House Site, reveal the presence and cultural persistence of indigenous peoples in the postwar period. Thus, the historical archaeology of fortified houses provides a counter-narrative to antiquarian tradition: garrison houses were sites of long-term cultural engagement between Native Americans and European colonists. Documentary and material evidence from these sites illuminates the changing nature of Native-colonial engagements on the New England frontier through a period of transition from war to post-war. The dissertation's conclusion explores the dissonance between archaeological and antiquarian narratives. It argues the omission of complex, long-term, cross-cultural engagements in favor of triumphal narratives of conquest reflects the sanitization of garrison houses as sites of violence during the postwar period.
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2013)

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Porter, Colin Arms, "'Monuments to a Nation Gone By': Fortified Houses, King Philip's War, and the Remaking of a New England Frontier, 1675-1725" (2013). Anthropology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0T43RFZ