“A Small Brick Pile for the Indians”: The 1655 Harvard Indian College as Setting

  • Christina J. HodgeEmail author
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA, volume 35)


The 1655 construction of a brick building to educate “English and Indian youth in knowledge and godliness” radically transformed fledgling Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with repercussions to this day. The structure was a calculated statement of institutional identity and a prospective vision of Harvard’s legacies. It was also an experimental space, prone to manipulation, redefinition, and appropriation by individuals operating within diverse cultural and intellectual contexts. Based on documentary and archaeological sources, Harvard’s 1655 Indian College is analyzed as a physical setting that fostered particular practices and social relationships. The structure dramatically altered possibilities at the seventeenth-century school. Because of what and where it was, the Indian College fostered new kinds of intercultural authority and intellectual exchange. More broadly, this study models the application of notions of practice and affordance to a multicultural colonial setting.


Native Student Indian College Roof Tile English Student Brick Building 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank my current co-directors of the Harvard Yard Archaeology Project, Patricia Capone and Diana D. Loren, as well as former directors William L. Fash and John D. Stubbs, teaching fellows, students, and the many project supporters on and off campus, for their collaboration. Particular thanks go to the Harvard University Native American Program, Harvard University Archives, Houghton Library, Department of Anthropology, and staff of the Peabody Museum.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peabody Museum of Archaeology and EthnologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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