Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Hassanamesitt Woods - Grafton
Hassanamesitt Woods - Grafton, MA

Categories: Archaeology,
Education & Outreach,
Landscape Preservation

The Hassanamesitt Woods project illustrates the importance of partnerships in historic preservation. This 200-acre parcel of town-owned land is associated with John Eliot's 17th-century praying Indian village of Hassanamisco and includes archaeological traces of 18th and 19th-century Nipmuc and European settlement.

Archaeologists from the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston have documented an 18th and 19th-century Nipmuc farmstead. UMB archaeologists have used the site to train student archaeologists and have opened the site to the public through site tours, public lectures, and field school spots for Grafton High School students.

The land may not have been protected if it had not been for the efforts of a strong coalition that included the Nipmuc Nation, the Trust for Public Land, the Grafton Land Trust, the MHC, the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor, and the Department of Conservation & Recreation. The necessary  funds were raised to help the town purchase the property and protect it from development. Today the land is protected by preservation and conservation restrictions. Hassanamesitt will continue to be studied archaeologically and will also be open to the public with interpretive signage.

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