I. The Archaeological and Ethnographical Context

Arriving at Moosehead Lake shortly after the retreat of the glaciers, approximately 11,000 years ago, Native Americans found Mt. Kineo. The mountain became a spiritual center for Native American life. Its distinctive volcanic rhyolite proved to be a valuable economic resource for making stone tools, which have been found throughout New England and the Maritimes. Mt. Kineo has therefore attracted archaeologists and ethnographers for the last 150 years.

Native American Use of Moosehead Resources

A study of the four stone quarries at Mount Kineo by Charles Willoughby (Harvard Peabody Museum) brought attention to the importance of the green-blue rhyolite for the manufacture of prehistoric stone implements [1]. The distinctive characteristics of Kineo-Traveler rhyolite makes for easy recognition in prehistoric sites in the upland and coastal regions of the northeast. Four flaked stone tools of cultures of various ages in the northeast are shown here [2]. A major hallmark of European arrival and presence in the region are the moderate number of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century iron trade axes. A fine example with four maker's marks, likely of French origin, is displayed [2d]. This example was found in about 1900 by Louis Oakes, while conducting a land survey east of lower Moosehead Lake.

Map showing location of Indian workshops near Mt. Kineo, Maine
In Charles C. Willoughby, Antiquities of the New England Indians (Peabody Museum, 1935)
Facsimile, 14.0 x 11.5 cm
Hamilton Collection

Fluted biface, Brassua Lake
Kineo-Traveler rhyolite
ca. 11,000-10,000 B.P.
6.6 cm
Maine Archaeological Society Inc.

Stemmed "Neville" biface, Sebago Lake
Kineo -Traveler rhyolite
ca. 8000-7000 B.P.
5.8 cm
Kennard Collection

Notched biface, Brassua Lake (broken); Point pre-form, Brassua Lake
Kineo-Traveler rhyolite
ca. 3000 - 1500 B.P.
6.2 cm, 17.3 cm
Sherman-French Collection, USM

French "marked" trade axe, Moosehead Lake region
Iron, seventeenth century
17.5 cm
Hamilton Collection

Penobscot Land, Southwest of Moosehead Lake

Frank G. Speck of the University of Pennsylvania Museum began researching and publishing on the Penobscot peoples in 1914. He was trained as an ethnographer at Columbia University by Franz Boas. Using oral traditions and historic documents, Speck defined families through various attributes, such as mythic origin and established territory, and mapped out their tribal territories [3].

Frank G. Speck
Map of Maine showing boundaries of Penobscot tribal territory
In Penobscot Man (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940)
Facsimile, 23.5 x 15.0 cm
Hamilton Collection

Frank G. Speck
[Key to the map of Family Tribal Territories in Maine]
In Penobscot Man (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940)
Hamilton Collection