New England Preservation: Norwalk Native Fort           

By Carla Charter

NORWALK CT- A team of archeologists from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, surveying the Walk Bridge replacement area, have uncovered a Native American Fort from the 1600’s.  This fort was noted in historical maps from the 1800’s. “It is rare to find remnants of a fort in our area. There are only a handful along Long Island Sound that have been excavated I was over the moon with the discovery of the fort,” said Mandy Ranslow, Archeologist with the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“The fort is in the area where the natives were trading with the Dutch. It was located on the coast so they had easy access to the Dutch ships trading furs and wampum,” said Ranslow. “We hope to learn more about the people who lived and ate there, what they were doing there and more about the trading that was going on.”

it is believed those who lived at the fort were members of the Norwalk Indian tribe, Ranslow said, adding that Native American Pottery was found at the site. “We are hoping that with the decoration on the pottery we will learn whether the tribe was more related to the Delaware tribe to the west of them or the Pequot and Mohicans to the east of him.,” Ranslow said. Other items found at the site include glass beads of different colors, an ax head, a knife blade, and other European and native artifacrs.

The excavation of the site will go on for at least a few more months. “It is a meticulous process. There are a lot of features, which are soil stains where posts had been placed. These features have helped us locate where wigwams would have been as well as where the Palisade, the wood wall which surrounded the fort was located,” Ranslow said.

The Department of Transportation has made commitments to the city of Norwalk to create Interpretive Panels about the fort and two museum exhibits of artifacts. “We are also working closely with the Norwalk Historical Society to display the artifacts and create educational programming as well.”