Annual Meeting and Program

Events > Annual Meeting and Program

Friday, September 20, 7:00 pm  Sarah P. Sportman, Senior Archaeologist at AHS/PAST, Inc., will present, Settling Connecticut: A 17th-Century Component in Old Wethersfield.

Buchanan Auditorium at the Mansfield Public Library
(54 Warrenville Road, Mansfield Center).
Admission: $5.00/Adult, free for MHS members and children.

Sarah Sportman
Sarah P. Spotrman, Ph.D., RPA

In 2016, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield decided to add a new education and visitor center on the premises. As required by the State Historic Preservation Office, an archaeological survey was conducted to ensure that the addition would not disturb any historically significant artifacts on the site. The Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc. (PAST) was hired to conduct this investigation.

At our annual meeting, Sarah Sportman will discuss the recent archaeological work at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum complex that resulted in the discovery of an intact portion of the 17th-century landscape. The associated deposits contain a rich, well-preserved assemblage consisting of domestic artifacts, personal items, architectural materials, and food remains, as well as several post molds and a section of a palisade wall. 

Established in 1634, Wethersfield is considered Connecticut’s first town (although Windsor still contests this claim). The first European occupant of the property arrived in the 1630s, during the initial period of English settlement. The recovered artifacts and features appear to date to the First Period and represent some of the earliest archaeological evidence of European settlement in Connecticut. The WDS site, along with other ongoing research projects on 17th-century Connecticut, are helping us to flesh out the realities of daily life in the earliest decades of Connecticut Colony. Dr. Sportman’s presentation is based on work that was co-authored with her colleague, Ross Harper, PhD.

Our speaker is a senior archaeologist at AHS/PAST, Inc. and oversaw the Wethersfield project. She has 20 years of experience studying the history and archaeology of Euro-American and Native American cultures in the Northeast, working in both cultural-resource management and academic settings. Dr. Sportman holds a B.A. in history from Union College, an M.A. in historical archaeology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut. She has conducted archaeological research on several important historical sites in Connecticut, including Old Newgate Prison and the Prudence Crandall House. In addition to her work as a professional archaeologist, Dr. Sportman serves on the Board of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut and, as of 2019, is the editor of the Society’s annual publication, the Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut.

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