Ted Ballard on 17th Century Sowams

An engineer by training, Ted Ballard began doing both surface and below ground archaeology in 1993 in conjunction with the Massachusetts Archaeological Society headquartered at the Robbins Museum in Middleborough.

Ted sat down with Sowams Heritage Area Coordinator Dr. David Weed at Ted’s house in Rehoboth  to talk about the geology of the area and the settlements of early people in Southeastern Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island. He went on to discuss the influence of climate on the European migration and the conflicts that arose between the Aboriginal and the English cultures. Click here for the two-hour video.


Jim spoke about the differences between the aboriginal and the colonial cultures and the misunderstandings that eventually resulted in the outbreak of the conflict known as the King Philip War. He touched on the following topics in the following rough order in the two-hour interview on the video:

0:00 – 2:30      Qualifications and personal history

2:30 – 10:00    Excavation of the Tobey archaeological site

10:00 – 20:00  Geography of the Southeastern Massachusetts Area

20:00 – 25:00  Stone structures of the sky-based aboriginal culture

25:00 – 32:00  Stone sky observation sites found in the area

32:00 – 34:00  World-wide climate change and its influence

34:00 – 50:00  Pilgrim European culture

50:00 – 56:00  Algonquin and Jesuit creation stories

56:00 – 58:00  Modern sky-based navigation in the Navy

58:00 – 1:11    Causes of the King Philip War

1:11 – 1:16      Rehoboth and Taunton purchases

1:16 – 1:21      Anawan and ceremonial sites around Rehoboth

1:21 – 1:26      Establishment of the Palmer River Church

1:26 – 1:28      Causes of the King Philip War

1:28 – 1:30      After the King Philip War and treatment of American Aborigine

1:30 – 1:35      Effects of infectious diseases and inoculation

1:35 – 1:47      Trading and religious conversion

1:47 – 1:49      American Aborigine symbols used on wampum belts

1:49 – 1:51      Stories of creation and death

1:51 – 1:55      Concluding remarks


Ted was involved in the original archaeological dig at the Tobey Site near his property in Rehoboth. The site was the home of indigenous people 3700 years ago.