Indigenous History of Westwood, Massachusetts
Now a relatively large body of water that sits on the Dover-Westwood border, Noanet Pond has been an important area and ecosystem for thousands of years. Prior to the 1960s, when the creation of a dam caused Noanet Pond to drastically widen and become deeper, the area where the pond is now located was more of a wetland, with relatively shallow water, and trees growing throwing throughout it. When excavations for the dam began, a stone adze (a tool used to make dugout canoes, at right) was found in the wetland area, which suggests permanent indigenous settlement on Hale's property. During that same excavation, a hole drill and a projectile point (arrowhead) were found in close proximity to the adze, indicating that the Noanet Pond wetlands may have served as a tool-making area for indigenous peoples.
Noanet Pond. Photo courtesy of rootsrated.com.
According to Hale Education, Inc.'s website, and Shirley Sutton's write-up of Native history at Hale, the presence of other natural resources in Hale's former marsh (now Noanet Pond) that were commonly used by the Massachusett Tribe provides further evidence of permanent settlement in the Westwood area. The reeds that were found in the marsh were probably used to make sleeping pads and cover shelters to protect from the elements, cattail fluff was utilized to pad the diapers of young infants and toddlers, and wild rice likely supplemented meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
A stone adze. Although this is likely not the same shape or style of adze as the one excavated from the Noanet Pond area, it is very difficult to tell what that one would have looked like. Photo courtesy of anthrosource.com
Sutton, Shirley. "A Very Brief History Of The Indigenous People Of Hale Education, Inc. and the Surrounding Area." Hale Education, Inc. Westwood Massachusetts. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ChHxWRcP58l-GcgZtj7GjqrwJbcNvTMW
“Hale History.” Hale Education, 12 Oct. 2021, https://hale1918.org/history/.