Archaeological Canoe Trip Will Explore History of Taunton River in Massachusetts


This year’s Archaeology in the Watershed canoe and kayak tour will feature the Town River, the headwater for the Taunton River in Bridgewater and West Bridgewater in Massachusetts.

The event, on October 6, is being hosted by the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and the Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA).

“The Taunton River area is so rich in history,” Carolyn Lamar, director of the watershed alliance, told the Taunton Daily Gazette. “We have done this every year for at least five years. We decided it was great to highlight the Taunton River and the places along the river because they provide such a major function in the lives of Native Americans and in prehistoric times.”

Tour attendees will be led by Curtiss Hoffman, an anthropology professor at Bridgewater State University and an activist who supports the watershed.

“What becomes apparent in the tour is how important the river was to life in this area for centuries,” Lamar told the Taunton Daily Gazette. “And then it was important to industrial development, ship building, iron smelting, and a lot of industry on the river. It’s provided such a good transportation network.”

Dick Shafer, director of economic development for TRWA, told the Taunton Daily Gazette the trip is worth the experience. Not only for the fun of the canoe trip but also to learn the history of the area.

“[Hoffman] goes over and points out both Native American and colonial history on the river,” Shafer said. “The Taunton River was called the Great River by the Wampanoags. With the canoe trip, you have the advantage of enjoying the river and its expanses of area where there is no housing or development, and it truly transports you to more of a wilderness environment. And then along with that, there are areas of Native American encampments. It’s a wonderful combination of the wild and scenic and the history.”

The canoe trip is $20 for TRWA members and $30 for non-members and includes lunch. For more information and to make a reservation, call 508-828-1101.