A violent conflict between English colonists and Native Americans almost 400 years ago grew into a war that ended with the near extermination of an entire Indian tribe.

[See Photos of the Remains of the Pequot War]

The conflict instilled a deep fear among European settlers of Native American tribes that would last for centuries and would influence the treatment of Native Americans in the years that followed, said Charles Lyle, the director of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield.

"That is when this whole fear of Indian attack really took over, and it took over for the rest of the 17th century in New England.

People were really fearful of the Indian attacks," Lyle told Live Science.

But now archaeological investigations of the grounds of the museum have revealed traces of occupation that date back even further, to the time of the Pequot attack more than 100 years earlier.

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