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Bren McDonnall
11-16-2017, 12:07 PM
I'm doing a story where the protag is dropped off on the eastern coast of Massachusetts in the year 500AD. Specifically, Loblolly Point, southeast of Rockport, northeast of Boston.

Does anybody know what sorts of trees and wildlife he might run into specific to the area?

This is a one month project, and I don't really have the time to do the OCD level of research I like for my stories, but it would be nice to know what sorts of trees he's chopping down to build his base camp, and maybe what sorts of critters he'll be gnawing on.

Thanks.

Marlys
11-16-2017, 04:45 PM
Keep in mind this wasn't unoccupied territory. The Massachusett people (or their ancestors) had lived there for thousands of years. I suggest looking up the Woodland Period to find out how people lived and what they ate at that time. Here's a starting point. (http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/massachusettsbay.htm)

Ariella
11-16-2017, 11:18 PM
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Columbian Exchange of plants and animals hadn't happened yet. A lot of species that are now considered native to eastern North America, like clover, daisies, dandelions, earthworms and honey bees, wouldn't have been there in 500 AD.

Bren McDonnall
11-17-2017, 04:04 AM
Keep in mind this wasn't unoccupied territory. The Massachusett people (or their ancestors) had lived there for thousands of years. I suggest looking up the Woodland Period to find out how people lived and what they ate at that time. Here's a starting point. (http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/massachusettsbay.htm)

Thanks. The research I'd found previous to this did have it as largely unoccupied. It was talking about the Hopewells just moving east over the Appalachians, but mentioned nothing about any peoples already there.

Not sure if this makes the protag's journey easier or more difficult.


Another thing to keep in mind is that the Columbian Exchange of plants and animals hadn't happened yet. A lot of species that are now considered native to eastern North America, like clover, daisies, dandelions, earthworms and honey bees, wouldn't have been there in 500 AD.

Great! I had a neat little side arc involving honey in my mind. Oh well, maybe I can make it work with maple sap.

Earthworms surprises me.

My problem here is that trying to research, say, what sorts of trees the protag would encounter on that little peninsula he appears on leads me down multiple rabbit holes, none of which will tell me anything unless I already know what to look for.

"Oh, you want to know about white pine? Well, here's a bunch of useless information on white pine that only botanists will have any use for. Oh, want to know if they grow in a spot more specific than 'generally this half of the continent'? Good luck with that!"

I even looked up the Delmater Sanctuary, which is the exact location I need. I can see the thing on the Google Satellite map, and even see the damned trees. Think I can find out what they are, though? Nope. I've found the name of the security guard who watches the trails, I know which trails are in need of clearing, and the name of the guy who's fighting with the town over rights of way along one of the trails. Beyond that, about what grows in the sanctuary itself or why it even is a sanctuary? Nothing.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Barring further info, I think I may have to mush ahead using placeholders and come back later when I've got more time for research.

I envy those movie characters who can find anything, no matte how obscure, on the internet with a few keystrokes and an 'aha!'

Siri Kirpal
11-17-2017, 05:08 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I believe they'd have sugar maples and some type of oaks on the east coast. Not much in the way of conifers.

On the coast, he'd fish.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Ariella
11-17-2017, 07:50 AM
This sounds like the kind of information a field guide can provide. The Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Forests explains which species commonly show up together in which habitats in eastern North America.

Marissa D
11-17-2017, 08:14 AM
Oaks (red and white), various types of pine (white pine, and closer to shore, jack pine), hemlock, birch (silver, white, paper), beech, maple, hickory, possibly--and since it's pre-blight, chestnut and elm.

Bren McDonnall
11-17-2017, 03:18 PM
Now we're talkin'! Thanks!

Meanwhile, I've been studying Northeastern tribes 'til my eyes won't focus. Trouble is, so far the timelines are all saying 2000 years ago until, but nearly every scrap of info I can find hovers around the early contact with the Europeans.

I may have to take some artistic license, at least initially.

I am finding that he'll probably be alone out there on the point in January. What little info I can find says that the locals moved inland into the forests during hard winter, so he'll have missed them by a month or so.