NPR Interview: Kevin McBride discusses archaeology at “Retreat from Mistick Fort”

Retracing The British Retreat Route During the Pequot War


Published: Jun 19, 2012
Audio: Dr. Kevin McBride interview on WNPR with Ray Hardman

An Archeologist and a team of college students are spending the summer uncovering a little known chapter in Connecticut history.

In 1637 British and allied Native American forces led by Captain John Mason, attacked the massive fortified Pequot village in what is now Mystic, Connecticut. By all accounts several hundred Pequots were killed in the attack. While this chapter of history is well chronicled, there are only a few accounts of the angry Pequot forces that faced British troops as they retreated to ships along the Thames River after the attack, and the burning of another smaller Pequot village along the way.

“What we try to do is take what slim historical narrative we have and we try to integrate that with the archaeology we’re finding to construct a much more cohesive and detailed account of what happened,” said Kevin McBride who is the director of research at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.

McBride and 20 college students are using metal detectors to try and retrace the British troops eight mile retreat from the destroyed Pequot village to the Thames River. He says the results so far have been astonishing.

“We’ve probably identified about a mile of the retreat,” said McBride. “We’ve recovered maybe 60-65 battle-related objects and we’ve documented not only the route but the intensity of the fighting along the way, which quite surprised us.”

McBride says as they continue on the probable path taken by the British, they will be digging test pits, looking for evidence of the smaller Pequot village. The project is being funded by the American Battlefield protection program and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.