In 1680, more than 300 Piscataway left their home in Mayone and relocated to Zekiah Fort in order to seek refuge from Susquehannock attacks. Lord Baltimore established the fort adjacent to his 8,800-acre Zekiah Manor estate, which bordered the 22-mile long Zekiah Swamp, after the Piscataway rejected proposals to migrate to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Piscataway community remained at Zekiah Fort for between ten and fifteen years before dispersing.
Following abandonment of the settlement, the precise location of the site disappeared from public knowledge. Researchers began searching for the historic fort in the 1930s, but were unable to find it until 2011. Representatives from all three bands of Piscataway joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and other politicians in celebrating this breakthrough and honoring its cultural significance for modern descendents of those who comprised the historic Zekiah Fort community.
Image: Copper artifacts from the Zekiah Fort site, including cut triangles/points (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)
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