Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Archaeology, New England, Connecticut River, Glastonbury, Settlement Patterns, Geoarchaeology, alluvial geomorphology

Major Advisor

Kevin McBride

Associate Advisor

Robert Thorson

Associate Advisor

Nicholas Bellantoni

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The primary objective of this research was to identify the alluvial geomorphic filters that obscure remnant settlement patterns and in so doing refine our understanding of Pre-contact settlement systems during the Archaic Period and Woodland Periods, a time of environmental change followed by settlement and subsistence shifts.

Statistical analysis of Connecticut’s site distribution, historic planform analysis and partial reconstruction of the Glastonbury Reach during the Woodland Period revealed patterns in the Late Archaic through Woodland Periods (5000–300B.P.) floodplain site distributions. This research demonstrates that the development of a meandering alluvial reach coincided with a shift in settlement that began in the Late Archaic Period. Furthermore the Pre-contact planform reconstructions demonstrated that the Terminal Archaic through Middle Woodland archaeological site distributions were the most impacted by changes in the shape and location of the meanders. However, the last meander bend of the Glastonbury Reach was constrained in movement and therefore the archaeological site distribution within in it is a good representation of settlement patterns created from the Late Archaic through the Late Woodland Periods. Examination of this archaeological site distribution revealed a settlement preference for the ridge landforms created by the meandering river. This trend began in the Late Archaic Period and continued through Woodland Period, where it culminated in semi-sedentary villages, such as the Morgan Site, around 1000 A.D.