Browse Exhibits tagged "archaeology" (3 total)

Early Historic Period Archaeology

The Early Historic Period refers to the period between about 1600 and 1700 C.E., when many Virginia Indians came into contact with European colonists.  In terms of material culture, this period was largely an extension of the Late Woodland period for Virginia Indian village communities, and people continued to produce and use objects and tools made from bone, stone, animal hide, shell, and wood. Some of these items were traded to colonists in exchange for European materials like copper, iron, and glass. These objects became part of Virginia Indian lifestyles and are found at many village archaeological sites from this time period. 

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Woodland Period Archaeology

This exhibit showcases aspects of Virginia Indian material culture during the Early, Middle, and Late Woodland periods.  The artifacts in this exhibit date from 1200 B.C.E. to 1600 C.E.  

At the end of the Late Archaic period, Virginians were dispersed foragers who led mobile lifestyles.  That began to change during the Early Woodland period, when the first ceramics were developed in Virginia, a direct result of the production of soapstone bowls in the preceding centuries. These vessels would eventually diversify and become common across the state.  As people began to cultivate foods like gourd and squash in the Middle Woodland, they more and more often stayed in the same place instead of moving to different seasonal camps.  Their homes and communities coalesced to form hamlets and villages with tribal identities.  By the time Virginian Indians came into contact with Europeans, their society formed a dense and complex political landscape that varied from region to region.  Material culture flourished and diversified to include many different types of objects, many of which are produced by Virginia Indian artisans and craftspeople today.  This exhibit shows just a fraction of the artifacts that have been found at Woodland period sites across the state.

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Paleoindian and Archaic Period Archaeology

This exhibit showcases aspects of Paleoindian and Archaic period material culture in Virginia.  These artifacts date to between 19,000 and 500 B.C.E. 

People first arrived in the Americas between 18,000 and 20,000 years ago, spreading across the continent.  North Americans then formed the widespread Clovis culture, leaving characteristic stone points at ephemeral camp sites before moving to follow large game animals.  People continued living a mobile lifestyle for a long time, and by the Late Archaic period they had formed regional trade networks along major river drainages.  The practices of Late Archaic people directly contributed to the development of soapstone-tempered ceramic technology in the Early Woodland period, leading to a sedentary lifestyle in the Middle and Late Woodland periods. 

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