As part of the RI Historical Cemeteries Awareness and Preservation Week, Sowams Heritage Area Coordinator Dr. David Weed offered a half-hour tour of the Royal Pokanoket Burial Site at Burr’s Hill Park in Warren on May 1, 2022. Click here for a 32-minute video recording of his talk.
Tour participants listen Dr. Weed points to the historic marker in the Park that shows a painting of the Massasoit Ousamequin who is known to be buried at the site because a copper chain necklace given to him by Pilgrim Edward Winslow in 1621 was found when some of the graves were exhumed around the turn of the 20th century.
In 1913, George Hail Library (above photo) Director Charles Carr removed over 600 items from 42 gravesites and placed some of them in the George Whipple Greene museum on the second floor of the Library. All of those items have since been returned to the tribe and are now reburied in Burr’s Hill Park.
Many other objects found in the graves were sent to the Haffenreffer Museum in Bristol and the Haye Museum of the American Indian in New York City. Those items were recovered and reburied in 2017 in a crypt beneath a monument to Ousamequin that covers the site.