The Sanhickans were a band of the Algonquian-speaking Lenape that occupied the Middle Delaware valley at the time of European contact in the 17th century. The Lenape territory ranged from the Atlantic coastline inland up into the Delaware, Raritan and Lower Hudson valleys. The Sanhickans were frequently at war with their Lenape neighbors, the Manhattans, who controlled territory to the northeast.
Sanhickans, spelled in various ways (Sankikans, Stankekans, Zanckikan), was also the name given to the village occupied by this Lenape band. The village was spread across both sides of the Delaware River around and opposite the mouth of the Assunpink Creek, and apparently extended on to islands in the river and as far downstream as Crosswicks Creek. Sanhickans served as a base camp for Native Americans exploiting resources in the surrounding area and was well situated to take advantage of rock outcrops suitable for stone tool manufacture, clay for pottery making, fish that spawned here at the head of tide, and plants and animals in the floodplain habitat.
Two clusters of longhouses marked as "Stankekans" are shown, one on each side of the Delaware River, on a Swedish map of 1616. Today the sites of these Sanhickans settlements lie beneath the urban landscape of South Trenton and Morrisville. Traces of Sanhickans occupation have been found in archaeological excavations along Route 29 near the Mercer County Waterfront Park.Links to learn more - New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; Churchville Nature Center, Bucks County