Earliest Artifact

This late-archaic era (3,000 BC to 1,000 BC) effigy or fetish of a harbor porpoise, possibly representing a clan symbol, was unearthed in Hingham Cemetery some time in the past. The exact location, date, or other details are not known, but it came into the possession of Dr. Henry F. Howe of Cohasset, who gave it to the Bronson Museum (now the Massachusetts Museum of Archaeology in Middleboro, MA).

The 5 1/8" long by 1 3/8" wide carving is made of fine-grained, slightly polished soapstone. 

Harbor porpoises were plentiful in Hingham Harbor even at the time of the first settlers’ arrival and were an important food, fuel, and utensil source for late-archaic era peoples who inhabited the area.

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