Salty Air, Ocean Waves, and Beach Days

Native American Settlement and Resource Exploitation along the Southern New England Coast

Where: Peace Dale Museum of Art and Culture (
When: Thursday, May 3rd at 7:00 pm

The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc.’s. (PAL) Senior Archaeologist Jay Waller will discuss southern New England’s changing coast and will draw from real archaeological examples to summarize evolving patterns of Native American coastal settlement and use through time. This discussion will take us from Narragansett Bay, to the state’s south shore, and southward to Block Island. 

Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline have supported coastal populations and communities for millennia. Fishing, shell fishing, canoe manufacture, trade, and resource exploitation were practiced along the southern New England coast long before the arrival of the first Europeans and continue to this day. Concerns about rising seas, coastal development, energy projects, and rapid responses to major storm events have led to a flurry of archaeological surveys within Rhode Island’s coastal zone in recent years. Archaeological surveys have provided evidence for more than 7,000 years of Native American occupation and use of the southern New England coastal zone. The regional archaeological record is varied, ranging from small stone quarries and fishing locales to large, concentrated Native American villages and places of ancient ceremony.