Reader Submitted

Library to host Isles of Shoals archaeology talk

Friday, August 2, 2013

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, noted writer, historian and longtime Smuttynose steward J. Dennis Robinson will present “Treasures from the Isles of Shoals: How New Archaeology is Changing Old History.”

He will explore the truth behind the romantic legends of Gosport Harbor in this colorful show-and-tell presentation. This program is free and open to the public.

There is treasure here, but not the pirate kind. Scientific digs on Smuttynose Island are changing New England history. Archaeologist Nathan Hamilton has unearthed 300,000 artifacts to date on this largely uninhabited rock at the Isles of Shoals. Evidence proves prehistoric Native Americans hunted New Hampshire’s only offshore islands 6,000 years ago.

Hundreds of European fishermen split, salted and dried valuable Atlantic cod here from the 1620s. “King Haley” ruled a survivalist kingdom here before Thomas Laighton struck tourist gold when his family took over the region’s first hotel on Smuttynose. Laighton’s daughter, Celia Thaxter, spun poetic tales of ghosts and pirates.

Robinson has published more than 1,000 articles on New Hampshire history and culture. His books for young readers include biographies of Jesse James and Lord Baltimore. His hardcover histories of Strawbery Banke Museum and historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel both received honors from the American Association for State and Local History.

His newest book is “Under the Isles of Shoals.” Robinson is also editor of, a website about New Hampshire that attracts thousands of visitors daily.

His lectures are designed to make history entertaining and accessible to audiences of all ages.

This event is made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Learn more about the council at

Robinson’s presentation is the grand finale of the Bedford Public Library’s Adult and Teen Summer Reading Clubs.

For more information about the summer reading clubs, visit or call the library at 472-2300.

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