Cushnoc Archeological Site
Cushnoc (Cushnoc Archeological Site)
|Nearest city||Augusta, Maine|
|NRHP Reference #||89001703|
|Added to NRHP||October 27, 1989|
|Designated NHL||April 12, 1993|
The Cushnoc Archeological Site, also known as Cushnoc (ME 021.02), is an archaeological site in Augusta, Maine that was the location of a 17th-century trading post operated by English colonists from Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. It is adjacent to Fort Western, an 18th-century stockade fort around which the city of Augusta grew. The site is significant as it provides a window into trading, living, and construction practices in the early period of colonial settlement in New England. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
Description and history
The English Plymouth Colony was established at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 by religious dissidents and English adventurers. In order to repay the investors in the colonization effort, the colonists engaged in a number of ventures, one of which was trading with the local Native American population for furs. Pursuant to this business, the colonists in 1628 established a trading post on the Kennebec River at the site of what is now Augusta, Maine, which the Plymouth colonists called "Cushnoc". The Plymouth colonists were not the only colonists trading on that river, and the Plymouth colonists are known to have operated at at least one other site in the area. They are known to have abandoned their trading on the Kennebec in 1661. In 1754 Fort Western, also a National Historic Landmark, was built "at a place called Cushenoc[sic] Near The Spot where one hundred years ago the late Plymouth Colony had a Garrison."
The Cushnoc site was identified and excavated between 1984 and 1987. It is located on the eastern bank of the Kennebec River, just south of Fort Western, on land that is partly owned by a local church. The excavation outlined the boundaries of the trading post's palisaded wall, as well as postholes of earthfast buildings erected at the site. These and other finds at the site were found beneath the surface level plow zone in sandy soil. Artifacts found were consistent with those found at other sites dating to the mid-17th century, including tobacco pipes, glass beads, utilitarian ceramics, French and Spanish earthenwares, and many hand-forged nails. The data uncovered thus far and new excavations are expected to shed light on the relationships between (and among) the English traders, the Native population, and the nearby French Acadian settlements.
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Maine
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Kennebec County, Maine
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Cushnoc Archeological Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "Museum in the Streets brochure". City of Augusta. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Grumet, Robert. Historic contact : Indian people and colonists in today's northeastern United States in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 9780806127002.