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Pahquahkossit

Wading River

  • Pahquahkossit
  • Last Posted/Modified: November 28, 2018
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Table of Contents
Introduction
History
Land Loss
Translation

Introduction

Pahquahkossit is a winter camp site located in what is now known as Wading River. Based on prefishtail arrowheads found, the site is identified as an archaic period settlement, with evidence of occupation as early as 2595 BC.

History

1967 – 1970

During excavation, Ronald Wyatt described the site prior to being bulldozed;

The Wading River salt marsh occupies an embayment that is surrounded on three sides by the Harbor Hill terminal moraine, which is as much as 180-200 feet high, locally. The hill surrounding the marsh ar dissected by several small valleys with streams, mostly intermittent, that flow northward into the Wading River tidal creek. The marsh, characterized by vast expanses of salt hay, is predominently high, rather than intertidal. On the north or open side it is separated from Long Island Sound by a prodiminent sand and cobble bar. The Wading River flows through the marsh in interenched meanders, ultimately emptying into the sound. At the time of excavation a prominent finger of land, named Pleasant Hill by the investigators, extended north into the marsh, essentially dividing it into a large eastern and small western section..[Wading River] was immediately adjacent to fresh water springs. The Riverview site, which was a quartz chipping station and lacked food remains, was located on a low, open, flat ground on the northeastern side of Pleasant Hill, facing out across a finger of marsh onto the Sound. 1

Wyatt’s describes the site as ideal for winter camp, protecting occupants from wind and providing fresh water resources. He also believes that the site may have been used year round, though with the lack of wigwam post holes in, temporary housing may have been used.2

  1. Wyatt 1977: 401
  2. Thomas Lynch, Topography, Climate, and Site Distribution of Three Main Phases of Native Occupation on Long Island, 2001 pp. 57

Disruption and Vandalism

It is believed that Pahquahkossit has been completely destroyed by the new decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Powerplant.

Translation

The site, known as the Wading River site in research, has been given the name Pahquahkossit based on Tooker‘s research1

Pahquahokossit: Wading River, Riverhead town. So recorded in 1687 (S. R., vol. i., p. 344).

  1. William Wallace Tooker, Indian Place Names on Long Island, 1911, p175