Dr. Lucianne Lavin Director of Research & Collections Emeritus

Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D. is an anthropologist & archaeologist who has over 50 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology, including teaching, museum exhibits and curatorial work, cultural resource management, editorial work, and public relations. Dr. Lavin is a founding member of the state’s Native American Heritage Advisory Council (a government agency whose appointed members advise the Office of State Archaeology and the State Historic Preservation Office on Native American graves/burials and sacred sites), and retired editor of the journal of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut, a position she held for 30 years. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University and her B.A. from Indiana University. Dr. Lavin has written over 200 professional publications and technical reports on the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Northeast.

Her award-winning book, Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archaeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us about their Communities and Cultures (Yale University Press, 2013) won Second Place in the books category in the 2014 New England Museum Association Publication Award Competition, an Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations, and was selected as a Choice Magazine (American Library Association) “Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 in the North America Category”.

Her latest book, Dutch and Indigenous Communities in Seventeenth-Century Northeastern North America (SUNY Press, 2021), is an edited volume rated by BookAuthority as one of the “16 Best New Archaeology eBooks to Read in 2021.” Dr. Lavin recently received a Certificate of Award for Women in American History from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a Connecticut-born resident and has lived much of her life in the lower Housatonic River Valley.


Below, you will see a list of lectures Dr. Lucianne Lavin can bring to your organization!
Typical Program Length: 1 hour
In-person PowerPoint presentation: $350
Zoom presentation: $300
Mileage Rate: $0.54 per mile

Connecticut's Indigenous Communities: An Introduction

Eastern North America was not a “howling wilderness” as described by the early English settlers. It was a built landscape, managed by the first settlers of the land, its Indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities have long, rich histories that extend back to when they shared Mother Earth with mastodons and other extinct animals. Through those thousands of years, Native Americans became experts in their natural environments, a necessity for their physical survival as well as their spiritual obligation. Our first environmental stewards, Native American communities had long been managing their physical environments to enhance plant and animal populations as well as their human communities. Indigenous folklore and sacred stories promoted this ecological balance.

Traditional Roles of Women in Southern New England Tribal Societies

This Powerpoint Presentation will provide a short introduction to indigenous societies in the region, and then focus on the traditional roles of women in those Native American societies, comparing their status to that of indigenous men and that of contemporary European women.

Native American Pottery: The Sacred & the Mundane

One of the most negative stereotypes of American Indians is that their cultures were simple and primitive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Having migrated into North America by at least 12,000 years ago and more likely over 35,000 years ago, Native American peoples have had thousands of years to develop their tribal traditions and belief systems into the complex, sophisticated entities encountered by their first European visitors. This PowerPoint presentation uses one aspect of their material culture to illustrate this fact. Examples of Native American ceramics from several tribal cultures will be discussed in terms of their technologies, designs, functions, and symbolism.

Our Hidden Landscapes: Stone Cultural Features and Ceremonial Landscapes

A hike in the woods often reveals a variety of stone cultural features to the experienced archaeologist and historian. This PowerPoint presentation is an overview of the various kinds of European-American and indigenous stone structures found on our Connecticut landscapes. State regulations support the preservation of sacred Native American sites, and so it is important for members of land trusts and conservation organizations to be able to recognize these sites within their properties, and inform the CT State Historic Preservation Office and Office of State Archaeology of their presence.

Contemporary Native American Communities: An Introduction

This PowerPoint presentation introduces the audience to several contemporary Native American communities. Specifically, it will compare and contrast those in the West with those in southern New England, stressing their diversity in physical environment, culture and history. The result is major differences in their historic reservation cultures.

Connecticut's Native Americans and their Natural World

CT’s indigenous communities have long, rich histories that extend back to when they shared Mother Earth with mastodons and other extinct animals. Through those thousands of years, Native Americans became experts in their natural environments, a necessity for their physical survival. Our first environmental stewards, Native American communities had long been managing their physical environments to enhance plant and animal populations. Though ravaged by European diseases, war, land losses, poverty, and discrimination, Native American peoples adapted to their constantly changing physical and social landscapes through a series of survival strategies. Their communities remain a vibrant part of Connecticut life.

Native American History IS American History

This is a PowerPoint presentation on the significance of Native Americans to our American history and culture in general. It discusses the contributions of Native American peoples and their traditional cultures to clearly demonstrate that their history must be considered a part of American history.

A Traditional Native American Winter
If you were a Native Person living 500 (or 1000 or 5000) years ago, likely you would look forward to the Winter season. Connecticut’s Indigenous Communities were outdoor peoples who not only survived but thrived under adverse weather conditions. They spent most of their lives in the open air. During warm weather, people slept outdoors. Weetoos an Wigwams (the Eastern Algonquian word for houses) were used for storage and as shelters in inclement weather.
This PowerPoint presentation describes the traditional Winter activities of Native Americans before the coming of European settlers to Connecticut.
Education for Indigenous Extinction: The View from Connecticut

It is a miracle that we still have American Indian tribes in CT. Native American communities have endured over 400 years of racism, discrimination, poverty & injustice caused by factors of European invasion. They endured fierce detribalization efforts by federal and state governments. A major tool for detribalizing was Indian boarding schools. This PowerPoint presentation will discuss the effects of Indian boarding schools on indigenous identity and culture in the United States in general, and Connecticut in particular.

Digging for Venture

Broteer Furro AKA Venture Smith is one of America’s true, real life heroes whose adventures had been largely unsung until recently. A multi-year archaeological project begun in 2001 that included Venture’s farm and home uncovered thousands of objects and over a dozen structural remains that provided previously unknown information on Venture’s daily life, economic status, and moral standards, proving him to be a role model for all Americans. He was born about 1729, the eldest son of a West African prince, into a life fraught with murder, abduction, enslavement, and discrimination. He overcame these adversities through hard work, honesty, and courage, eventually becoming a respected free black land owner and businessmen in Haddam, CT.

The Mohican Presence in Northwestern Connecticut

Early European documents demonstrate that Mohican tribal homelands extended east and south into what is now the state of Connecticut, with known villages reported in what would become the towns of Salisbury, Sharon, and Canaan. The documentary evidence reveals stable, peaceful social and political relationships between Mohicans and Housatonic Valley tribal communities to their south, particularly the Schaghticoke (AKA Scaticook). Archaeology pushes the Mohican presence back even farther, into deep history.

America’s First Gardeners

This presentation introduces the audience to Native American botanical lore. They were our first herbalists, gardeners, and farmers. This PowerPoint presentation will discuss Indigenous management of wild plant colonies, Native horticultural practices, Native herbal medical knowledge, and Indigenous communities as America’s first environmental stewards.

Dutch-Native American Relationships in Eastern New Netherland (That’s Connecticut, Folks!)

What is now the state of Connecticut was once part of the 17th century Dutch Empire. New Netherland extended from Cape Cod west to Delaware Bay from 1614 to 1650. At that time, the Dutch gave up much of their claim to Connecticut to the English at the Treaty of Hartford but retained control of its southwestern portion. Dutch families continued to live in other parts of Connecticut as well. Connecticut’s first documented European explorers AND settlers were the Dutch. The aim of this presentation is to introduce the audience to their significant impacts on our history, including the continuing strong Dutch presence in western Connecticut, Dutch relationships with local Indigenous communities, and the noteworthy, often long-term effects of those relationships on our state and regional histories. The Dutch deserve a more prominent position in future Connecticut history books and museum exhibits. Dutch-American history and Dutch contributions to American culture should be mandated topics in Connecticut’s school curriculum.

Lecture Inquiry