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A Report on the

Archaeology of Maine

Warren K. Moorehead - 1922

 Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint

Moorehead's study of Maine archaeology when he was the head of the Philips Academy Archaeology Department in Andover, Massachusetts.  He was also serving as the Field Director of the Archaeological Survey of New England when this book was written. 

This is a narrative of the explorations in Maine 1912-1920 and Lake Champlain in 1917. See General Account of  Expeditions (below).

This 7-1/2" x 10", soft cover, facsimile reprint contains: 272 pages, 21 maps and plans (4 foldouts) and 123  illustrations - mostly full page plates.  $23.95  


Perforated Objects Slate in situ

Group of Effigies

Slate Spears Special Forms


Specialized Plummets Pottery Types

Slate Spears

Harpoons Wow

Bone Objects

Sample  Plates - click on image to enlarge


     General Account of Expeditions
     Descriptions of Explorations.—Cemeteries
     Bucksport, 1912
     Orland, 1912
     Hartfords Cemetery, 1912
     Lake Alamoosook, 1912
     The Emerson Cemetery, 1912
     The Mason Cemetery, 1912
     Passadumkeag. August 1912
     Hathaway's Cemetery, 1912
     Blue Hill-Haskell's Cemetery, 1913
     Sullivan Falls Cemetery, 1913
     Georges River, 1915
     Hart's Falls Cemetery, 1915
     Tarr Cemetery, 1915
     Stevens Cemetery, 1915
     Oldtown—Godfrey's Cemetery, 1918
     Winslow — The Lancaster Cemetery, 1919
     Oakland — Wentworth's Cemetery, 1920
     Detailed Study of Objects
     Alamoosook Unit
     The Ellsworth Unit
     The Bangor Unit
     The St. George River Unit
     The Kennebec Unit
     Review and Conclusions
     Indian Village Site near Bangor
     Cremation Pits
     Objects Found in Cremation Pits
     Red Paint Graves
     Objects Found in Red Paint Graves
     Red Paint People and Algonkins
     Modern Indian Burial at Sargentville
     The Red Paint People and the Shell Heaps
     The Beothuk Theory

A. Explorations
     Frenchman's Hay

     Sullivan Falls Shell Heap
     Calf Island Shell Heap
     Stovers Shell Heap
     Botnton's Shell Heap
     Wheeler's Cove Shell Heap
     Von Macii's Shell Heap
B. Material from the Shell Heaps
     Ground Stone
     Chipped Stone
     Bone Implements
     Teeth of Animals
     Large Bones
     Bone Handles
     Awls and Needles
C. Conclusions
     The Sebago Region
     The Androscoggin Region
     The Kennebec Valley
     Moosehead Lake
     The Penobscot Waters
     Olamon Stream
     The Piscataquis
     Lake Sebec Region
     The Mattawamkeag River
     The St. John Valley
     The St. Croix Waters
     East Machias
     The Damahiscotta Region
     The Lake Champlain Survey of 1917
     Concluding Remarks
     Roster of Men Who Served on the Several     Expeditions


     The archaeology of New England has been singularly neglected in comparison with that of other parts of our country. Much less time and money have been devoted to its study and much less literature exists on the subject than on the antiquities of either such comparatively unexplored states as Wisconsin or Arkansas. Our colonists confined their observations to inhabited Indian villages, graveyards of the period, crudely constructed Indian forts, and other evidences of Indian occupation in historic times. Although we have in New England scores of publications dealing with early Indian history, Indian wars, and related subjects, we search the libraries in vain for a volume devoted exclusively to the archaeology of the New England States.
     This seems to the writer to be due to the fact that there are in New P^ngland no conspicuous archaeological monuments, no mounds or earthworks, cliff houses or ruined buildings; while in other sections of the country ancient mounds, ruins, and other remains, of both stone and earth, stand out prominently as landmarks and at once attract attention, even from a distance. There are some small earthworks near Concord, Millis, and Andover, Massachusetts, and doubtless in other places in New England, but they are not to be compared with those of the Ohio Valley. Except the village sites, which are smaller here than elsewhere, we have practically no surface indications of aboriginal occupation. While it is comparatively easy to locate shell heaps in cruising along the coast, to find cemeteries or interior village sites we are compelled to depend upon the use of spade and testing rod. A remark of the late Dr. Thomas Wilson of the Smithsonian Institution, that evidences of prehistoric occupation of a given area are found in proportion as men search, and not according to the ratio in which they exist, is peculiarly applicable to New England.
     In the early years of the Department of Archaeology of Phillips Academy* some observations were made in that part of Essex county lying nearest to Andover, and a scouting expedition was made through the Mer-rimac valley and on Cape Cod. A collection of stone implements was known to have been made by a Mr. Tew about the ponds in the region of Hanson, Massachusetts. These and other observations led to the conclusion that there was much archaeological material to be found in New England; but the active field work was for some years devoted to other parts of the country, such as the caverns of the Ozarks.
     The success of expeditions working in Ohio, New Mexico, etc., and composed of large crews suggested that similar results might be obtained in New England, and that, if the material for study there seemed scanty, there was the more need of regular surveys and extensive research. A study of published material indicated that more or less archaeological work had been done in Connecticut, along the lower Penobscot, on Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod, and by Professor Perkins about Lake Cham-pjain*; but on the whole the State of Maine seemed to offer the most promising field for scientific exploration. Especially the splendid exhibits in the Peabody Museum, made by Mr. Willoughby in the early nineties from four cemeteries of the so-called Red PaintPeople of Maine**, opened the question of the extent of territory occupied by this people and the possibility of correlating their peculiar culture with others.***
     Important archaeological work had also been done at Moosehead by J. D. McGuire and by Mr. Willoughby; among the shell heaps on the coast by F. H. Gushing, by Professor F. W. Putnam especially at Damariscotta, by Professor F. B. Loomis and Mr. D. B. Young for Amherst College in 1909, and by Professor Arlo Bates; and in other excavations by various persons.f Much of this work has been published, chiefly in scientific periodicals, and much of the material gathered was on exhibition in various museums, but no comprehensive survey of the archaeological resources of Maine had been attempted.
     This our Department undertook to make, with funds granted by the Trustees, and the first expedition was organized in 1912.ft In March of that year Mr. Charles H. Perkins of Wakefield, Mass., was employed to visit all known collectors of archaeological specimens living in Maine. He travelled extensively over the state, and upon such maps as were available he entered the Indian village sites and burial places, so far as knowledge of them was at that time accessible. The study of this material revealed many sites along the Maine coast and through the valleys of the Penobscot, Kennebec, and other rivers. Of Indian sites in the interior of the State little was known. It had been suggested that felsite from Mt. Kineo, which the Indians worked extensively and carried to various parts of the State, might have been taken from Moosehead down the Allegash to the St. John River, and Indian sites had been reported on Chamberlain, Chesuncook, and other lakes lying about the head of the Allegash. Accordingly I went to Moosehead Lake early in May, and with Frank Capino, a Penobscot Indian, as guide, journeyed by canoe from Northeast Carry through the West Branch of the Penobscot, Lakes Chesuncook. and Chamberlain, Eagle Pond and Long Pond, down the Allegash to the St. John, and down the St. John to Fort Kent, at the mouth of the Fish River, a distance of some three hundred and fifty kilometers. Many sportsmen and pleasure seekers have taken the Allegash trip, but no one seems to have looked at the banks of these rivers and lakes with a view to recording aboriginal sites. We discovered about fifteen small sites. The water being unusually high, many places at which guides reported that arrow heads and chips of the Kineo flint had been found, were inaccessible.* We attempted no explorations at this time. The trip was merely a reconnoissance.
     Our regular exploring expedition occupied the summers from 1912 to 1920, omitting 1916, which was devoted by the Director to a Susquehanna exploration not under Phillips Academy jurisdiction but for the Museum of the American Indian, New York, and to the Connecticut River survey of 1919, the report on which will be published later.
     The number of men in the party varied greatly from year to year, but we usually had enough to divide into several groups, so that more than one spot was being excavated, or more than one route was being followed, at the same time. The Survey has traversed a large part of the State of Maine in canoes and has made many trips by motor-boat or horse-drawn vehicle or on foot. Travel by canoe is in general by far the best method of exploration in New England, for the Indians travelled by canoe and we can move over the same thoroughfare that they traversed. On the roads, often remote from the stream, it is difficult to observe the river banks. Although travel by river has disadvantages in a thickly settled district such as that bordering on the Connecticut River from Turner's Falls down, in Maine it has proved much more satisfactory than any other method.*
     Our custom has been to go first to the head of a river, shipping our canoes and camp outfit there, and to start down stream. For the first hundred kilometers or more, while the river is narrow, both banks can easily be observed from the canoes, and the expedition keeps well together. When the river becomes a hundred meters or more wide, the canoes separate, two following the right bank and two or three the left. The men are continually landing to examine the banks; often they paddle up small tributary streams as far as the canoe can be driven. In the broken river banks at various distances below the top, specimens, fire pits, and other indications of wigwam sites are often discovered.
Experience in the field teaches the archaeologist to select readily the places at which Indian remains are likely to be found. These sites are usually near the mouth of a tributary stream or upon a lake. A site which appeals to the camper of today was likewise attractive to the Indian, and we frequently find modern camp sites placed upon Indian camping grounds.
     In the following summary of the territory covered, travel by automobile, train, or steamer is not included. The mileage given is the total covered by the party whether entire or in sections.** In addition to the trips noted below, a number of short ones were made by various members of the expedition, from one point to another, ranging from forty to two hundred and forty kilometers, so that it is safe to assume that at least eighty-eight hundred kilometers, or fifty-five hundred miles were covered by these surveys and expeditions.

1912 May.
 Preliminary tour of observation. Moosehead Lake and West Branch of 300 miles Penobscot, Chesuncook and Chamberlain Lakes, or Allegash and St. John Rivers at Fort Kent. 500 kilometers. June to September. Twelve to fifteen men. Bucksport, Orland, Lake Alamoosook, 600 miles Lower Penobscot, Sargentville, 1912 or 1913 or Moosehead Lake, Upper Penobscot, 1000 kilometers. Mattawamkeag, Passadumkeag, tributary streams.

1913 April and May.
Small expedition for five weeks on Sebago Lake. June to September. Twelve men. Toddy Pond, Blue Hill, Hancock Point, Sullivan Falls, Lamoine, Union River, Frenchman's Bay, coast and islands from East of Bar Harbor to Ellsworth, Mt. Desert and adjacent islands. 19U June to September. Twelve or thirteen men. Moosehead Lake, West Branch of Penobscot St. John River and tributary streams, East Branch of St. Croix River, Grand and Schoodic Lakes, West Branch of St. Croix River, Machias, Bucksport, Sandy Point. 1915 June to September. Fourteen men. Castine region, coast and islands, Eggemoggin Reach, Orland, Mattawamkeag River, Piscataquis River, Katahdin Iron Works, Penobscot from Passadumkeag to Castine, Georges River.

1917 May to September.
Six men. Saco River, Salmon Falls, The Weirs, Lake Champlain, cooperating with the University of Vermont.

1918 May and June.
Four men. Coast and islands from Georges River to Kennebec, 400 miles Waldoboro and Medomac River, or Pemaquid Pond, Damariscotta River and Lake. (500 kilometers. Small expedition on Kennebec River from 200 miles or below Moosehead to Waterville. 300 kilometers.

1919 June to August.
Seven men. Connecticut River Survey. September. Lancaster's cemetery at Winslow, for the Bangor Historical Society.
1920 June to September.
Eight men. Sebasticook River and China Lake, Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers, East Branch of Penobscot, Belgrade Lakes, Wayne-Auburn region

1921 July to August.
No expedition. Curator visited Castine region and lakes near Mount Katahdin.

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