Winter Speaker Series

2021-2022 Zoom Speaker Series

King Philip’s War:
Impacts on Merrymeeting Bay

December 8, 2021

Bruce Bourque

Archaeologist, Director, Merrymeeting Bay Pioneer Project

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Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) third presentation of their 25th annual Winter Speaker Series, King Philip’s War - Impacts on Merrymeeting Bay, features Bruce Bourque, Chief Archaeologist emeritus, Maine State Museum and Senior Lecturer in Anthropology emeritus, Bates College. FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series presentations are again being held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of the FOMB web page: This event takes place Wednesday, December 8th at 7 pm. 

King Philip’s War—also known as the First Indian War, the Great Narragansett War or Metacom’s Rebellion—took place in southern New England from 1675 to 1676. It was the Native American last-ditch effort to avoid English authority and stop English settlement on native lands. The war is named after the Wampanoag chief Metacom, later known as Philip or King Philip, who led the fourteen-month bloody rebellion.

The Merrymeeting Bay Pioneer Project founded by Bourque, Alan Bowes, Chris Gutsher and Fred Koerber, focuses on learning more about early English settlers in or around Merrymeeting Bay during this turbulent time of the 17th century, as well as later English and Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots) pioneers who settled in the area during the first three-quarters of the 18th century, when the Pejepscot Proprietors were a primary influence in the settlement and development of the Bay area.

English settlement in Maine during the 1600s is sparsely documented and poorly understood. Only a few of the sites where the pioneers lived and worked have been located and studied. The exact locations of most of the others have been lost over the centuries. Carrying out a careful, systematic investigation of these forgotten sites could yield a wealth of information about the lives of those earliest English pioneers, their interactions with the local Indians, and the effects they had upon the area’s ecosystem over time.

Bruce Bourque currently directs the Merrymeeting Bay Pioneer Project. From 1970 - 2001 Bourque directed the Fox Islands Archaeological Project, goals of which included the reconstruction of prehistoric cultural and environmental history of the Penobscot Bay region. Between 1975 and 2015 he was director of the Merrymeeting Bay Archaeological Project which sought to assess the impact upon prehistoric human populations of sea level rise in this area, including extensive investigations at eight large archaeological sites spanning most of the Holocene. Bourque has published a number of journal articles over the years including The Archaic Period of the Merrymeeting Bay Region, South Central Maine co-written with Steve Cox and Robert Lewis and included in The Archaic of the Northeast. His most recent popular book published in 2012 is The Swordfish Hunters: The History and Ecology of an Ancient American Sea People. Bourque holds a B.A. from University of Massachusetts, M.A. from the University of Colorado and Ph.D from Harvard, all in anthropology.

Merrymeeting Bay Pioneer Founders
Top: (L-R) Bruce Bourque, Alan Bowes - Bottom: (L-R) Fred Koerber, Chris Gutscher

FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom. The FOMB January 12th presentation, “Don’t Be a Nuisance! FOMB vs. CMP” features William Most. Lead Attorney at Most & Associates. This event takes place 7:00 pm with the Zoom access link available at a week or so prior to the presentation.  

Speaker Series presentations are free, open to the public. Visit to see speaker biographiesfull event schedulesvideo recordings of past presentationbecome a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.


Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler