Proto-colonial archaeology explores the physical origins of the world culture that evolved out of contacts made in the Age of Exploration, from Columbus to Cromwell. The early defended sites show how colonizing Europeans first responded to the challenges of new environments and new peoples, and how their choices led to conquest, adaption, or failure. Fortifications, once necessary to protect the colonies, are now essential clues to understand their history. The first comparative study of proto-colonial fortifications, First Forts is a collection of essays written by leading archaeologists in the field. Meeting the needs of archaeologists and historians around the globe, this book will also appeal to military enthusiasts, preservationists, and students of the Age of Exploration. Contributors are David Orr, Kathleen Deagan, Steven Pendery, Eric Klingelhofer, Nicholas Luccketti, Edward Harris, Roger Leech, Paul Huey, Jay Haviser, Oscar Hefting, Christopher DeCorse, Ranjith Jayasena and Pieter Floore.