In 1931 Yale University granted $10,000 of it's archeological funds for exploration in New England under the leadership of Professor William King Moorehead of Andover, Mass. With about 30 assistants, the summer was given over by Prof. Moorehead to excavating sites of Indian villages in southern New England.
Near the limit of his finances, Prof. Moorehead arrived at the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. At the Weirs the discoveries were so rewarding that the report of this expedition states "with regret this ancient village was but partially explored."
After a hurried visit to Plymouth, N.H., where an Indian village is known to have been burned by Captain Thomas Baker in 1712, since the funds were exhausted this study was necessarily closed.
In his report, Prof. Moorehead told about finding fireholes of wigwams buried about three feet below the surface of the soil. He discovered fish weirs along the rivers and lake shores, and artifacts were found in many localities.
With such encouragement, organizations are now curious to discover tangible evidences of the thousands of years of history that await their efforts with the use of modern tools and chemical analyses.
In New Hampshire so little research has been attempted that the custom of the burial of the dead is still to be discovered. In Maine, graves have been opened and found to contain bones and implements for building fires and for warfare.
Among the "Red Paint People," who used the red ocher clay deposits, the bones were surrounded with ocher. Another custom was to expose a body upon frames of poles, elevated too high for wolves to attack them. After the flesh had disappeared, the skeleton was buried-a method that may have been employed to prevent exhuming by wild animals, for the body was not to be disturbed.
After a battle, a tradition existed that the dead were placed in a sitting position, in a circular formation, with bodies in tiers, one group above a lower group until all were properly placed to form a mound. Then earth was piled around this common burial plot and the place was sacred ever after.
In Ossipee a mound is preserved not far from Lake Ossipee. Locally it is believed that this contains the bodies of Indians who were slain in the last contest with the Indians in the famous Ossipee fight when Paugus, the grandson of Bashaba Passaconaway, was slain. Inhabitants of the valley during the 19th century have left their testimony that this mound has sunken gradually as the years have gone by, thus giving credence to its origin.
Indians of New Hampshire
Eva A. Speare copyright 1965
Historic Indian Trails of New Hampshire
Chester B. Price copyright 1967
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