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. J. Dennis Robinson, a longtime Smuttynose steward, explores the truth behind the romantic legends of Gosport Harbor in this colorful show-and-tell presentation.

J. Dennis Robinson has published over 2,000 articles on New Hampshire history and culture. His books for young readers include biographies of Jesse James and Lord Baltimore and an overview of child labor exploitation in America. 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 most recent books include a study of the tall ship Privateer Lynx, a colorful overview of archaeology at the Isles of Shoals, and a critically acclaimed in-depth look at the infamous Smuttynose ax murders of 1873. Robinson is also a history columnist and editor of SeacoastNH.com, a website about New Hampshire history and culture.