The upcoming Thematic Collection of Historical Archaeology (53:3) takes Western Massachusetts as an archaeological research subject, a source of poetic inspiration and ideological struggle, and a locale of critical investigation. In the 19th century, the region was aesthetically re-cast as a romantic “garden of the north” by White Euro-American writers and visitors. The emotional color of that depiction remains to this day, even if the political-economy of the region has shifted away from agriculture and nascent industrialization towards cultural production in the form of educational institutions, museums, and tourist destinations. By focusing on the mechanisms of the deployment of social power, particularly along lines of race, class, gender, and state-formation, the articles in this issue locate this romanticism as a landscape with a much longer and more complicated social history.
The articles are also a testament to the University of Massachusetts Department of Anthropology’s long-standing research investment in locally-based Historical Archaeology. For over 30 years, UMass anthropology has been training graduate and undergraduate students, partnering with local historical societies and museums, and working alongside Algonkian, African-American, and allied partners to enrich, complicate and disseminate the story of the region. All of this work has contributed to Historical Archaeology’s projects of materially investigating the past, democratizing historical narratives, and linking the social relations of the past and the present, to build a better future.
This thematic collection was edited by Quentin Lewis, Linda Ziegenbein, and Robert Paynter. The authors contributing to his volume and the titles of their articles are as follows:
Robert Paynter (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Linda Ziegenbein (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and Quentin Lewis (Yager Museum of Art & Culture, Hartwick College)
Excavating ‘The Garden of the North’: Five Centuries of Material and Social Change in Western Massachusetts: An Introduction
Siobhan Hart (Skidmore College) and Katherine Dillon (Binghamton University)
Entangled Things and Deposits in Early Colonial Native New England
Quentin Lewis
The Materiality of Fishing, Property, and Labor in Western Massachusetts
Anthony Martin (Worcester State University)
Haven to the East, Haven to the North: Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Robert Paynter and Whitney Battle-Baptiste (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) 
“Contexts of Resistance in African American Western Massachusetts: A View from the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, MA”
Linda Ziegenbein
The Sensory Landscape of the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Connecticut River Valley
Deborah Rotman (University of Notre Dame)
Domestic Ideals and Lived Realities: Gendered Social Relations at the Moors House, Deerfield, Massachusetts, 1848–1882
Alan Swedlund (University of Massachusetts) and Katie Kirakosian (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
“Glass Cabinets and Little Black Boxes: The Collections of H.H. Wilder and the Curious Case of his Human Hair Samples”
Elizabeth Harlow (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Gendered Landscapes: Women, Materiality, and Historical Memory in Deerfield, Massachusetts
Stephen Silliman (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
A View from the East: Reflections on Historical Archaeology in Western Massachusetts

Image: The Oxbow, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm The Oxbow by Thomas Cole