Dinnerware and the Dark History of America

In the 1500s, along a wooded river near the sea, the Lenape people of the village of Chammasungh had farmed, hunted, and fished for generations. 

During the 1600s, however, Chammasungh was first renamed “Finland” by invading Swedes, then “Marrites Hoek” by the Dutch.  Soon after, property records in the town record the arrival of The Proprietor, an ominous reference to William Penn, whose name we have inherited in Pennsylvania. 

And, the both Lenape people and their river were renamed by colonists after the governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Baron De La Warr — or Delaware.

Digging in this little town on the Delaware River (now called Marcus Hook) has revealed a wealth of artifacts from this history, obscure to many Americans who typically look back no further than the Civil or Revolutionary wars.  These treasures include plates with yellow-and-blue sunburst designs, British cannonballs, and a red quartz arrowhead dating from the time of Stonehenge, the Olmecs, and the most ancient Chinese dynasty.

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