Understanding Native American History and Culture in Fairfield
Like many New England towns, Fairfield was established in the aftermath of violent conflict with and subjugation of Native people by Europeans. We believe that by bringing people together to better understand the complex history and legacy of our region, we can create a more empathetic and equitable community for all.
Uncovering the 1637 Battle of Munnacommock (Pequot) Swamp
With support from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, the Fairfield Museum has led a multi-year research project to discover details of the Battle of Munnacommock Swamp (also known as Pequot Swamp), which took place in present-day Southport, Connecticut. That Battle took place in July of 1637, and it was the last engagement of the Pequot War.
Battlefields of the Pequot War Project
The project is part of the state-wide Battlefields of the Pequot War project that is identifying and preserving similar battlefields associated with the Pequot War (1636-1638) across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. After 380 years, the Pequot War remains one of the most devastating events in the history of America. It marked the near total destruction of the Pequot people. However, in the face of this and subsequent assaults on their homeland, contemporary Pequot communities exist as sovereign tribal nations today.
Working with archaeologists from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, the Fairfield Museum has successfully identified the probable locations of the Pequot Swamp battle site, conducted historical research, and documented artifacts that remain from the battle.
Phases of the Project
The first phase of the project, completed in 2017, was to assemble and review all historical references to the battle in order to identify its location.
During the second phase, completed in 2019, the Fairfield Museum worked with a team of archaeologists to conduct a low-impact field analysis of the Pequot Swamp battle site to locate possible artifacts. The final report for that phase is available here (some pages of the report have been redacted to preserve the privacy of property owners): Technical Report: Battle of Pequot (Munnacommock) Swamp, 2019.
For the third phase of the project the Fairfield Museum worked with Native American representatives, educators, and archaeologists to develop a series of educational exhibits and K-12 curriculum resources for educators and the public that will help tell the story and preserve the history of the Battle of Munnacommock Swamp and the Pequot War.
The Fairfield Museum is grateful to the following partners, donors, and sponsors whose generous support has made this project possible:
- National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program
- Pequot Running Club
- Southport Area Association
- Sasquanaug Association
- Southport Conservancy