The native Abenaki people played a central role in the history of the Monadnock region, defending it against English settlement and forcing the abandonment of Keene and other Monadnock area towns during the French and Indian Wars. Despite this, little is known about the Abenaki, and conventional histories often depict the first Europeans entering an untamed, uninhabited wilderness, rather than the homeland of people who had been there for hundreds of generations. Robert Goodby discusses how the real depth of Native history was revealed when an archaeological study prior to construction of the new Keene Middle School discovered traces of four structures dating to the end of the Ice Age. Undisturbed for 12,000 years, the site revealed information about the economy, gender roles, and household organization of the Granite State's very first inhabitants, as well as evidence of social networks that extended for hundreds of miles across northern New England.
Funded project of the New Hapshire Humanities Council. The new Hampshire Humanities Council is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.