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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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17th-Century Wampanoag Massasoit to be Reburied

Friday, April 14, 2017

Rhode Island WampanoagPROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND—The Associated Press reports that the remains of Massasoit Ousamequin, the leader of the Wampanoag Nation who signed a long-lasting treaty with the Mayflower Pilgrims in 1621, will be reburied at his original Rhode Island gravesite overlooking Narragansett Bay. The cemetery was destroyed in the nineteenth century when a railroad was constructed through the site. Ousamequin’s remains and grave goods, including a pipe, knife, beads, and arrowheads, ended up in seven different museums. Ramona Peters, a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, coordinated the effort with members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, and the Assonet Band of Wampanoag, to recover Ousamequin’s remains and belongings, and of the others who had been buried in the same cemetery. “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to do this for our ancestors,” she said. For more on archaeology in Massachusetts, go to “Salem’s Lost Gallows.”

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