The Battlefield Archaeology of the Pequot War (1636-1637)

The Pequot War was one of the most significant events in Pequot and Colonial history. It was the first major conflict between the English and a Native tribe in the Northeast. The defeat of the Pequot opened southeastern Connecticut to English settlers who claimed Pequot territory by Right of Conquest. Click here for a 78-minute presentation recorded by Southeastern Connecticut Television on March 1, 2023.

Presenter Kevin McBride (above) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut and the former Director of Research at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Two of the most important battles of the war took place in Mystic/Groton west of the Mystic River on May 26, 1637, the Battle of Mystic Fort and the lesser known Battle of the English Withdrawal.

These battles are examined through the discipline of Battlefield Archaeology which is concerned with the reconstruction of battlefield events by incorporating primary sources and the nature and distribution of battlefield artifacts to reconstruct the battle across time and space.

Thousands of battle related objects were recovered from these two battle sites using archaeological and metal detector surveys which allow archaeologists to determine where the battles took place, troop dispositions, numbers of combatants, movements of combatants around the battlefield, as well as weapons and tactics used by the combatants. This research has provided new and important insights on the Pequot War.