Loading Events

« All Events

Our Hidden Landscapes: Indigenous Stone Ceremonial Sites in Southern New England

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Join us for a virtual lecture, “Our Hidden Landscapes: Indigenous Stone Ceremonial Sites  in Southern New England”

A hike in the woods often reveals a variety of built stone cultural features. Many of these are the remains of abandoned farmsteads and industrial mill sites. Others, however, represent Native American ceremonial sites. The idea of Native Americans designing stone structures that represent sacred landscapes is fairly new to some Northeastern researchers, as it was historically – and erroneously — thought that local Indigenous peoples did not build in stone and all such structures were the result of European-American farming activities. Some of it is, but some of it is not.

This PowerPoint presentation (and the recently published book on which it is based) introduces people to Southern New England’s Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscapes (CSLs) – sacred spaces whose principal identifying characteristics are stacked stone structures that cluster within specific physical landscapes. They are often unrecognized as the significant cultural landscapes they are, in dire need of protection and preservation.

State regulations (in Connecticut, at least) support preservation of sacred Native American sites (that is, those sites of ritual significance), and so it is important for members of land trusts and conservation organizations, as well as private property owners, to be able to recognize these sites within their properties and work to preserve them.

Lucianne Lavin is Director Emerita of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies (a museum and research and educational center in Washington, Connecticut), a position she held for 18 years. She has over 50 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology, including teaching, museum exhibits and curatorial work, cultural resource management, editorial work, and public relations.  Dr. Lavin is a founding member of Connecticut’s Native American Heritage Advisory Council (a government agency whose appointed members advise the Office of State Archaeology and the State Historic Preservation Office on Native American burials and sacred sites), and retired editor of the journal of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut, a position she held for 30 years.

She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University and her B.A. from Indiana University.  Dr. Lavin was awarded the Russell award by the Archaeological Society of Connecticut and elected Fellow of the New York State Archaeological Association for exemplary archaeology work in their respective states. In 2018, she received a Certificate of Award for Women in American History from The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Dr. Lavin has written over 200 professional publications and technical reports on the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Northeast. Her award-winning book, Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archaeology, History and Oral Traditions Teach Us about their Communities and Cultures (Yale University Press, 2013) won Second Place in the books category in the 2014 New England Museum Association Publication Award Competition (Publication Award New England Museum Association 2014-07-15), an Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations (Award of Merit Connecticut League of History Organizations 2014-02-25), and was selected by the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine as the “Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 in the North America Category” (Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2014-01-21).

Her second book, Dutch and Indigenous Communities in Seventeenth-Century Northeastern North America (SUNY Press, 2021), is an edited volume rated by BookAuthority as one of “16 Best New Archaeology eBooks to Read in 2021.” Her most recent book, Our Hidden Landscapes: Indigenous Stone Ceremonial Sites in Eastern North America, was just published by the University of Arizona Press (October, 2023) Dr. Lavin is a Connecticut born resident, having lived much of her life in the lower Housatonic River Valley. She presently resides in northern Litchfield County.

Co-sponsored by the Avon Library & Avon Historical Society.

Please register; Zoom links will be sent out before the event.

Snow date: 1/24/24, 2pm


Tuesday, January 23, 2024
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Categories:
, ,


AFPL Adult Programs
860-673-9712 ext 4
View Organizer Website