English and Wabanaki Watercraft

Tools of trade, diplomany, and war in Midcoast Maine, 1605-1700

June 30 2022 - 7pm to 8pm

Neill DePaoli

For the Wabanaki of mid-coast Maine and the English newcomers, watercraft were an integral part of their daily lives during the 17th century. Waterborne travel was the primary means of transport thanks to the region’s limited network of well-developed overland routes. Dr. De Paoli will explore the importance that indigenous and European watercraft played in food procurement, trade, diplomacy, communication, and conflict. The audience will discover that the region’s Wabanaki were especially adept at navigating the interior waterways and coastal waters of mid-coast Maine with their traditional birchbark canoe or English workhorses such as the shallop. Over time, the English came to appreciate the value of the lightweight, and highly navigable birchbark canoe as a means of transport and communication, particularly when traveling to locations that were often inaccessible to the larger English vessels.  

Neill De Paoli is a historian/historical archaeologist living with his wife in Kittery, Maine. He earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Hampshire. Since 2016, he has been Historic Site Manager at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site on Maine’s south-central coast. This National Historic Landmark has prehistoric roots reaching back more than 6,000 years and historic prominence as one of New England’s earliest fishing and trading settlements. 

Over the last forty years, De Paoli has been studying English settlement and Anglo-Indian and English-French relations in early northern New England. Two of his most  ecent articles, East Meets West: Early Pemaquid’s Maine’s Link with Africa and Colonial Pemaquid appeared in Harriet Price and Gerald E. Talbot’s Maine’s Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of Its People (2006) and Frank McManamon et als, Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia, (2008).

Neill DePaoli

The video mentioned by Dr De Paoli is: Song of the Drum: The Petroglyphs of Maine filmed by Ray P Gerber. Part of the video are available on YouTube: