Red Paint People to be Subject of Rockland Talk

The existence — and the disappearance — of the Red Paint People is one of the most interesting aspects of Maine history. The Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands is pleased to welcome an expert and author who will help shed some light on this ancient culture.

Bruce Bourque, Maine State Museum Chief Archaeologist, will be at Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands on Wednesday, December 12 at 7 p.m. to sign and talk about his new book, The Swordfish Hunters: The History and Ecology of an Ancient American Sea People.

Published by Bunker Hill Publishing, The Swordfish Hunters explores the story of the Red Paint People. “I have been intrigued by the Red Paint People and their unusual culture throughout my career,” explains Bourque. “They lived by the sea and hunted swordfish. They buried their dead in large, orderly cemeteries that included graves filled with a brilliant red powder, known as ocher, along with stone tools and bone ornaments of exquisite beauty and craftsmanship. After five hundred years, these people mysteriously vanished.”

“Interwoven with the story of the Red Paint People is one of scientific growth and evolution, continues Bourque. “Archaeologists have adopted new research models in collaboration with a broad range of natural sciences to flesh out the story of a remarkable prehistoric culture, centered exclusively in Maine.”

Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands is located at 9 Water Street in Rockland and may be reached by calling 207-594-0600.