ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE
THE CAROLINA ALGONKIANS
This report summarizes research and other activities from May 1, 1983 to April 30, 1984, the period covered in the agreement for the first year of a grant entitled "Archaeology of the Native Americans: The Carolina Algonkians". It is the final report of a series submitted at approximately quarterly intervals during the grant period as required by the agreement and presents the preliminary results and achievements of the project rather than logistical, personnel and other aspects of project administration. The latter subjects were discussed in each of the three quarterly reports (submitted July 15, 1983; December 9, 1983; and March 1, 1984), as were newspaper, radio and television reports of project activities, and are not included here.
The project, sponsored by America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee and funded by the American Quadricentennial Corporation with funds provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, has three basic goals: (1) to achieve as complete an understanding as possible of the native Carolina Algonkian culture and population at the time of initial English contact (1584-1587) and in its final prehistoric manifestation, the Colington phase (A.D. 800-1650); (2) to identify and conduct research at those sites that had direct contact or important exchange with English explorers and colonists; and (3) to disseminate the resulting knowledge of the Carolina Algonkians and their relationship with the English to the general public and the scientific community during America's Four Hundredth Anniversary (1984-1987) celebration of that period which was so influential in shaping the course of New World events.
Conceived as a four-year endeavor, the project, as proposed, was based upon previous research in the northern Tidewater subregion of North Carolina, the homeland of the Carolina Algonkians (Figure 1), which had outlined the cultural-historical continuum ending with the Colington phase (phelps 1983), and summarized the distribution of Colington phase sites by localities, based in part on historic delineation of socio-political territories, and ranked them in order of importance and research potential (phelps 1982). In addition, the records and descriptions of native people, places and culture written by the Roanoke Voyagers (Quinn and Quinn 1982), the unique water color drawings of John White (Hulton and Quinn 1964), interpretations of these existing records (Quinn 1955), ethnohistoric accounts of the Carolina Algonkians (Mook 1944; Feest 1978) and earlier archaeological work (Haag 1958; Harrington l962) all provided the necessary background for this research.
The first year of this project was designed to be a data-gathering segment with respect to the archaeological research, recognizing that the amount of information and specimens generated in the survey and excavations could not be adequately analyzed and published during the first year. The locations of sites worked during the year are shown in Figure 1. The major expenditure of effort in field research involved area excavations, tests and mapping of the mile-long site of Chowanoke (31HF20, 30), capital town of the Carolina Algonkian society of the same name, on the Chowan River in Hertford (Page 1) County.
The work at Chowanoke served both the goals of general knowledge of Colington phase culture and a specific site where known contact occurred between the English and the Chowanoke during Ralph Lane's expedition in 1586. Subsidiary to the Chowauoke work was further excavation and testing of the site (31GA1) at Roberts' Wharf on Bennetts Creek in Gates County, where the Chowanoke were placed on the first reservation in North Carolina in 1677, and where they ended their history as a separate socio-political entity. This work serving the goal of general knowledge of the culture and specifically related to the type of culture change experienced by one Algonkian society in Colonial times. Two other scheduled elements of the Chowan River segment of the research, survey and possible testing of the "Ohanoak" site near Colerain in Bertie County and "Ramushonnouk" at Parker's Ferry in Hertford County, were not accomplished because of planted crops in the summer and lack of time and higher priorities for other project elements later in the year.
Equally important was the work on Roanoke Island, designed to begin a process of elimination for areas of negative and positive evidence of the 16th century Roanoke Indian village and the English settlement. Work this year included test excavations, mapping, a study of previous collections and records available at Fort Raleigh National Historic site, a beginning reevaluation of erosion on the north shore of the island, and follow-up investigation of previously reported finds such as a 1563 English coin. Our research, correlated with the current archaeological project being conducted at Fort Raleigh by the National Park Service, has suggested a new potential location for the Indian village visited by Barlowe in 1584. The Roanoke Island work was specifically related to the goal of identifying contact period (1584-87) sites.
Coincident with the Roanoke Island part of the project was a brief survey of the west shore of Bodie Island in the vicinity of Jockey Ridge and Nags Head Woods, where we hoped to find intact sites which might be contemporaneous with 16th century Colington phase and English activities on the north side of the former Roanoke Inlet. Sites were located, but they are almost completely eroded and only two belonged to the Colington phase. Because their cultural context is destroyed, no further work was planned except for more extensive artifact collections when low water conditions exist.
On Hatteras Island, the primary goal was to determine whether the Cape Creek site at Buxton, the presumed location of the town of "Croatoan", had sufficient context remaining to support meaningful excavations. Both sections of the site, 31DR1 and 31DR25, appear to have intact deposits as determined by survey and tests, and offer one of our best opportunities to investigate a site with frequent and intense contact between the English colonists and the Carolina Algonkians. Other sites on Hatteras Island were also re-visited to obtain better collections, but this met with varying success.
Two other investigations were fortuitous inclusions in the goals and work of this year, rather than planned activities. The first was the salvage of the fifth ossuary, or mass burial, typical of Carolina Algonkian culture, at the Baum site (31CK9). This burial added to the goal of general knowledge (Page 3) of the culture, and augments previous data which may lead to a better understanding of the class stratification and religious systems of the Carolina Algonkians, as well as accurate reconstruction of the population and physical type. A second fortuitous exposure of burials in a sand pit stimulated test excavations at Indiantown (31CM13) in Camden County where the Algonkian Weapemeoc society ended its history as the "Yeopim" Indians between 1662 and 1750. Preliminary evidence from this site indicates a pattern of change similar in general but different in particular from that of the Chowanoke in response to European Colonial culture after 1650, and adds significant general knowledge of the last days of Carolina Algonkian existence.
Although discrete analysis of data and materials from the above excavations has only begun, the preliminary results and interpretations of each are presented in more detail in the main body of this report under the appropriate site headings.
Other research during this first year of the grant involved the initiation of a study of the skeletal remains of Carolina Algonkian populations from the Baum site, 31CK9 (ancestors of the "Poteskeet"), Hatteras Village site, 31DR38 (Croatoan), Hollowell site, 31CO5 (Chowanoke), Piggot site, 31CRI4 (Neusiok), and the Tillett site, 31DR35 (Roanoke). This study is being performed by Dr. R. Dale McCall, physical anthropology consultant for the project at UNC-Wilmington, who has completed analysis of the Tillett site remains and those from the first ossuary at the Baum site. Approximately 237 individuals are available for study, a sample which will produce an accurate reconstruction of the Carolina Algonkian physical type in general, and may reveal differences between societal populations and speculations concerning inter-breeding and social distance between particular societies.
Consultant studies of the animal and fish bones, food remains from the various sites, are being conducted by Dr. Jeannette Runquist, Birmingham Southern College, and Dr. Camm C. Swift, Los Angeles County Museum, both experts in their fields. These studies, along with the study of preserved botanical specimens from the food residue being done by Paul Green, Assistant to the Project Director, will provide a more detailed understanding of Carolina Algonkian subsistence and utilization of natural resources to augment the descriptions left us by Thomas Harriot and other writers of the Roanoke Voyages period.
The other requirements and results of this first project year concerned the third goal of the grant, dissemination of information and knowledge of the Carolina Algonkians. First among these is the publication of a monograph on previous research at the Tillett site, at Wanchese on Roanoke Island. This seasonal site belonging to the Roanoke society of Carolina Algonkians, was the first fishing village at Wanchese, and is the first study of this type of seasonal site. The site is also of interest in that the artifacts for the first museum at Fort Raleigh were excavated there by playwrite Paul Green in 1938. The publication is entitled "Archeology of the Tillett Site: The First Fishing Community at Wanchese on Roanoke Island". (Page 4)
A slide/narrative presentation, entitled "The Carolina Algonkians", has been prepared and is available from the AFHAC office, and a travelling exhibit of typical Carolina Algonkian artifacts has been produced to either accompany the slide show or be used as a separate exhibit.
A final element of dissemination of knowledge was the presentation of numerous public and professional talks, lectures and papers related to the general subject of the Carolina Algonkians in relation to the 400th celebration and The Roanoke Voyages, as well as to specific research topics. These are listed in their appropriate section below.
Finally, this year the grant has been most successful in reclamation of excellent archaeological data to further the goals of understanding the Carolina Algonkians and identifying at best a few of the contact sites, and in disseminating information. While not all production delivery dates could be met as desired, the AFRAC was provided timely information on project activities through the quarterly reports, and a special report prepared for the Archaeology Subcommittee Chairman to submit to the Reynolds Foundation. Perhaps more important, sufficient funds were saved from the 1983-84 budget to fund another six weeks of research this summer at the site of Chowanoke. (Page 6)
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