Sowams was and is the ideal place to live

After 10,000 years of living in today’s New England Area, it’s not difficult to understand why Sowams was the ideal place for the 12,000 Pokaonket people who were known to be living there before the Europeans arrived. Jordan E. Kerber, writing in “Where are the Woodland Villages in the Narraganset Bay Region?” (Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 66-71) found repeated occupation of seasonal specialized processing camps focusing on estuarine resources during the Woodland Period in and around Tiverton, RI.


Food was abundant year round and shelter was readily available in wooded areas during the winter months. The richness of these resources along with the juxtaposition of terrestrial resources appear to have fostered a relatively early and sedentary maritime lifestyle (Bernstein, 1992).


More importantly, both saltwater and fresh water provided both food and transportation.


No wonder the early English colonists favored Sowams as the “Garden of the patent and the flour [sic] of the garden”, according to Myles Standish. Unfortunately, it was their desire for this land that brought about the King Philip War.


Dean Snow writes that “main villages were semi-pemanent sedentary communities built away from the coast. They were most fully occupied during winter seasons and were apparently moved every dozen years or so.” (The Archaeology of New England, 1980, pp. 75-76.)

From Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America : “From thick warme vallies, where they winter, they remove a little neerer to their Summer fields; when ‘tis warme Spring, then they remove to their fields where they plant Corne,” though evidence for substantial use of maize in this aea is enirely lacking until AD 1350 (Bernstein, 1992)