Excavating Occaneechi Town Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century Indian Village in North Carolina

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Page: Title Page, Page Number: i

Title Page

Excavating Occaneechi Town

Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century
Indian Village in North Carolina

Edited by

R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.

Patrick C. Livingood

H. Trawick Ward

Vincas P. Steponaitis
With contributions by

Linda Carnes-McNaughton

I. Randolph Daniel, Jr.

Roy S. Dickens, Jr.

Lawrence A. Dunmore III

Kristen J. Gremillion

Julia E. Hammett

Forest Hazel

Mary Ann Holm

James H. Merrell

Gary L. Petherick

V. Ann Tippitt

Web Edition

© 1998, 2003 by the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
First edition published 1998 on CD-ROM by The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London. ISBN 0-8078-6503-6.
Web edition published 2003 on the World Wide Web by the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in cooperation with The University of North Carolina Press and ibiblio.
Page: Foreword, Page Number: ii

Mécou Wítahe. Ein Yukéwa Yapóske AmaZishuké . . .

["Welcome, friends. A long time ago, the hilly land . . ." This is a phrase in the Tutelo-Saponi dialect of the Yésah language, the only surviving dialect of the northern-eastern Siouan peoples.]

A long time ago, the hilly land that is now called the Piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina was the home of our ancestors, the Yésah, a people who had lived in peace and balance with their world for centuries. Their numerous villages and towns were spread along the same fertile river valleys and meadows that are so abundant today. Though these communities were semiautonomous, each distinct village was interconnected with others through a complex web of kinship. Through time these villages maintained their collective identity as Yésah, the people of the land.
Relationships and trade were maintained among groups of villages through well-traveled trading paths. In time, such trails as the Occaneechi Trading Path become the foundation for many of today's major interstate highways. Though conflicts with other tribes occasionally arose and warfare was practiced with our traditional enemies, the people remained in balance with the land. Unfortunately, this way of life was not destined to continue. Dramatic change was sparked by the arrival of the first European explorers to our shores.
Soon after their initial contact with early Spanish and English explorers, the Indian people of the Piedmont began to suffer from diseases to which they had no immunity. These early explorers and the colonists and traders who followed also disrupted the lives of the Siouan peoples by introducing alcohol and its many ill effects to them. As our ancestors died from these new diseases and addictions, the indigenous population of the Piedmont experienced a drastic decline. The devastation was so pronounced that in the year 1708, the English explorer and surveyor John Lawson estimated that, as a result of these new diseases, at least five-sixths of the indigenous population within 200 miles of European settlement had succumbed.
While the Indian people of the Piedmont experienced this decline, European settlers established a firm foothold along the eastern seaboard. These settlers were eager to trade with the Indian people for furs and other raw and finished materials. In exchange, our ancestors were introduced to European wares and weapons. The Indian trade became a political tool of the European powers in North America, leading to additional conflict, which further decimated the indigenous population. One result of this trade was an increasing dependence on European goods, and eastern Indian nations found themselves in fierce competition for European wares and commodities. Newly introduced weapons from Europe changed the face of traditional Indian warfare. War became much more deadly and destructive for our ancestors as incursions and warfare with other Indian nations and settlers increased on a scale never before witnessed by the people of the land.
Our ancestors settled along the Eno River after the devastating attack by Nathaniel Bacon and his colonial militia at Occaneechi Island in the spring of 1676. This attack initiated a tragic period of increased warfare, forced migrations, social marginalization, and the resultant cultural decay that ultimately led to our assimilation into the dominant society. As a result of the social cataclysm that befell us, little of our material culture survived. However, much of our history and culture still lies protected beneath the earth mother.

Since the 1980s, the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA) of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has undertaken the enormous task of uncovering the archaeological record of the Yésah or eastern Siouan inhabitants of the Piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina. Perhaps its most effective and informative effort has been in the location and excavation of Occaneechi Town on the Eno River near Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Through their painstaking work, RLA archaeologists have been able to paint a picture of a people during a period of transition. They have actively sought the support of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and have given us, the descendants of the historic Occaneechi, Saponi, and related tribes, a more precise understanding of our unique culture and history as well as a firmer connection to our ancestors. The Occaneechi-Saponi people have been and continue to be actively involved with the Research Laboratories of Archaeology throughout its excavations.
The RLA has made a conscious effort to treat our ancestors' remains with respect, allowing us, their children, to reinter them once they have been located and documented. I give special thanks to H. Trawick Ward, R. P. Stephen Davis Jr., and RLA director Vincas Steponaitis for all their heartfelt support and work with our tribe. If, when installing this CD-ROM, you elect to view our ancestors' remains, please remember that the images you see are of human beings, our ancestors. Dokalidö Nedúge Liohatéhla Yim Ehuya Konspéwa Kebína Yalopokíwa! They are to be viewed with respect and good thoughts!
Excavating Occaneechi Town will allow you, the public, to learn about the Occaneechi people's history and culture from a unique perspective. You will be able to interact with your computer terminal as if you were actually a member of the excavation team. Examples will be shown of skilled Occaneechi craft work that has been uncovered as well as numerous indigenous and European artifacts from the site. In addition, students and professionals alike will see and learn the archaeological skills and techniques painstakingly used to obtain information about our ancestors. Enjoy using this CD-ROM and learning about the techniques used in this type of archaeological excavation. Above all, remember the ancient people whose daily lives will be illustrated on your screen. Please respect their struggles, which brought them to the Eno River valley and which we, their living descendants, continue to this day. Nekéwa Bíwa.
Lawrence A. Dunmore III,

Tribal Chairperson and Council Chief,

Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation

December 12, 1997
Page: Preface to First Edition, Page Number: iii

Preface to First Edition
Welcome to Excavating Occaneechi Town, an archaeological site report on CD-ROM. This report describes and interprets the buried remains of Occaneechi Town, a small but important village of the Occaneechi tribe that stood on the banks of the Eno River in North Carolina at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Also known as the Fredricks site, this village was excavated by archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in order to study how European colonization of North America affected Native Americans.
Excavating Occaneechi Town is unique, not just because it is an electronic publication but because it contains a wealth of visual and descriptive information not usually available in an archaeological site report. In fact, it is a complete, fully searchable record of all the excavated contexts and recovered artifacts from Occaneechi Town. In addition to describing the archaeology of the site and interpreting what was found, this report contains over 1,000 full-color photographs and maps, and detailed information for over 100,000 analyzed artifacts. The report also contains an archaeological teaching tool, called the Electronic Dig, which allows students to design their own research strategies and re-excavate Occaneechi Town.
This report contains numerous hyperlinks, which are highlighted in blue. Each hyperlink (invoked by clicking the text with your mouse) will take you to another section of the report with more specific and related information, or it will create a new window containing either a map, photograph, or table. You can also navigate through the report using the menu bar at the top of the page.
A Note on Sources
The articles and descriptions herein were adapted mostly from research reports previously published and copyrighted by the Research Laboratories of Archaeology. The original sources(s) of each article are listed at the end of the article itself. The sources of the feature, burial, and structure descriptions that appear in the Excavations chapter and the Electronic Dig are as follows: Features 2–7 (Ward 1987:81–110); Features 9–13 (Petherick 1987:29–80); Features 14–30 (Ward 1986:15–41); Feature 31 (Ward and Davis 1988:11–30); Features 32–41 (Ward 1986:15–41); Features 42–59 and 61 (Ward and Davis 1988:11–30); Burials 1–9 (Ward 1987:81–110); Burials 10–11 (Ward 1986:15–41); Burial 12 (Ward and Davis 1988:11–30); Burial 13 (Ward 1986:15–41); Burial 14 (Ward and Davis 1988:11–30); Structures 1–3 (Petherick 1987:29–80); Structures 4–9 (Ward 1986:15–41); Structures 10–13 (Ward and Davis 1988:11–30). Descriptions for Feature 1, Feature 8, and Feature 60 (Burial 27), by R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr., have not previously appeared elsewhere.
All human skeletal remains were initially examined by Homes Hogue Wilson. Her very detailed descriptions of these remains are not presented here. For more information about this aspect of the site's archaeology, the reader should consult her works published elsewhere (Wilson 1986, 1987). Subsequently, in 1995, the human skeletal remains were re-examined by Patricia M. Lambert (Davis et al. 1996); these most recent age and sex determinations are the ones used herein. In most instances, they vary only slightly from the determinations made earlier by Wilson.

Archaeological investigations at the Fredricks site, known in the eighteenth century as Occaneechi Town, were conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Research Laboratories of Archaeology (formerly Research Laboratories of Anthropology) from 1983 to 1986 and again in 1995. This field research was made possible by grants from the National Geographic Society, as well as institutional support from the Summer School and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Without this support, the archaeological finds described herein would never have come to light. We also are indebted to Frank Frederick, Cyrus Hogue, and Richard Jenrette, who allowed us to dig on their land, and to the dozens of UNC students who toiled under the hot summer sun as Occaneechi Town was gradually revealed.
Digging a site is one thing, creating an electronic description of the results is quite another. The impetus that started us down the latter road came from the IBM Corporation in the form of a gift: a free multimedia computer to any UNC department that could think of a good use for it! Under the umbrella of a broader program called Documenting the American South, we submitted a proposal to produce an electronic archive on Occaneechi Town and were awarded a computer. The year was 1993. By today's standards, the machine we got was slow and cranky. But it was good enough to get us going and served us well over the five years it took to produce this CD-ROM. We are grateful not only to IBM, but also to the individuals at UNC—Katherine Conway, Nancy Dooly, and Kathy Thomas—who administered this gift and helped us put it to good use.
The computer, however, was only one piece of the puzzle. Creating this electronic archive required all sorts of additional hardware: a scanner, a digital camera, a CD-ROM mastering unit, various printers, and lots of large hard disks! UNCs College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Information Technology (now called Academic Technologies and Networks), and Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research all provided funds with which this equipment was acquired. Key corporate support also came from Roche Image Analysis Systems, whose generous terms helped us purchase the necessary digital camera. Special thanks go to Geoff Feiss, Linda Spremulli, and Anne Parker of UNC and Ernie Knesel of Roche Image Analysis Systems, who made these arrangements possible.
Making this hardware work was not always easy. We were fortunate, therefore, to be able to call on many individuals who provided us with first-rate technical help and consistently good advice. Among these were Dineane Buttram, Andy Brawn, Helen Cronenberger, Lee Howe, Phil Kaufman, Richard Milward, Ernie Patterson, Pam Sessoms, and Doug Short.
Our video clips presented some special problems. We are grateful to Ron Kemp and Donna Barnes of North Carolina State University for supplying the original video footage, and to Andy Brawn and Phil Meyer of UNC for helping us edit and convert this footage to a format suitable for this medium.
Once the prototype began to take shape (it evolved through at least six beta versions), we showed it to innumerable people—professional archaeologists and amateurs, hackers and cyberphobes, old friends and innocent bystanders—who gave us encouragement and many fine suggestions for improvement. In this regard we are especially grateful to Mark Aldenderfer, Mitch Allen, Bill Baden, Keith Kintigh, Bruce Smith, and several anonymous reviewers, who kept us on the right track.
As the process of development moved forward, we eventually began to work with the staff at the University of North Carolina Press, who consistently impressed us with their extraordinary talents (as well as their patience and good cheer). David Perry, Marjorie Fowler, Shelley Gruendler, Katie Haywood, Beth Snowberger, Pam Upton, and David VanHook were all instrumental in bringing this unusual work to press, and their efforts are much appreciated.
Finally, we would like to express our thanks to the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, whose past is documented herein. We greatly value their unfailing interest in, and support for, our work and hope that this publication brings that past to the wider audience it deserves.
R.P.S.D., P.L., H.T.W., V.P.S.

December 14, 1997
Page: Preface to Web Edition, Page Number: iv

Preface to Web Edition
When we conceived the idea for Excavating Occaneechi Town in 1993, the world of computers was very different than today's. Windows 3.0 was the latest Microsoft operating system, hypermedia applications were platform-specific and used proprietary file formats, and the world wide web barely existed. We looked at the full range of available options and chose to use Asymmetrix Toolbook (running on an IBM platform) as the software with which to create our electronic monograph. Building a web version never even crossed our minds. Once we made this choice, we had to stick with it to the end. The first edition of Excavating Occaneechi Town was published on CD-ROM by the University of North Carolina Press in 1998.
Over the six years it took to develop and publish the CD, many things changed. The Windows operating system underwent multiple overhauls (from version 3.11 to Windows 98), computers became even faster, monitors grew larger and could display more pixels, and, most importantly, the web exploded into widespread public use. In light of these developments, we could see the first edition's limitations. One major problem was that our application would not run on Macintosh computers, which were quite common, especially in schools. And we were concerned about our CD's longevity; in other words, how long would our publication remain usable in the face of changing technology?
The issues of longevity for electronic works are very different than for conventional print. The main determinant of longevity for a book is how long the paper on which it is printed will last. For electronic works, the longevity of the material holding the information—in this case plastic—is irrelevant, because the technology used to read the information changes much faster than the material itself degrades.
One aspect of this problem has to do with the hardware needed to store and read the information in question. For example, since the personal computer was invented, we have seen a progression of storage technologies from 8-inch floppy disks, to 5-inch disks, to CDs, not to mention zip disks and all the changes that have occurred in hard disk drives. Fortunately this aspect of the problem is easy to solve. One simply must keep copying the information to new storage formats and media as they emerge; because the information is digital, there is no degradation in quality or content as each copy is made, and the copying itself is simple.
Technological issues involving software, however, are much harder to overcome. As operating systems evolve, there is no guarantee that newer versions will remain "backward compatible" beyond their immediate predecessors. Fifty years from now, the Windows operating system may no longer exist, and even if it survives, its future version may no longer be able to run a program that was compiled in 1998.
Thus, even as our original CD went to press, we were already thinking about its longevity and looking for a way to extend the life of our work. The solution we chose was to create an HTML version that could be read with any standard web browser. Of course, there's no guarantee that 50 years from now the web will be the same as it is today or that browsers will be compatible. However, given the enormous world-wide investment in current web standards, we felt it likely that one of two scenarios would play out: either backward-compatibility would be maintained or utilities would be created to convert existing HTML pages to whatever new format would emerge. Thus, creating a web edition seemed like the best bet to insure longevity. A web edition would also have the advantage of being accessible from any computer running either Windows, Macintosh, or Linux.
Our goal in creating this edition was to maintain, as much as possible, the "look and feel" of the original. We largely succeeded, although some compromises and changes were necessary to accommodate the new format. For the sake of longevity and compatibility with all browsers, we also decided to keep the format of the work as simple as possible; in other words, we used only the most basic HTML tags and deliberately stayed away from the "bells and whistles." The only chapter in which this policy was violated was, by necessity, the Electronic Dig. Here, we relied on the Java programming language, the longevity of which remains to be seen. The text of all the substantive chapters remains the same as in the first edition, although we took this opportunity to correct a few typographical errors. The only major changes are in the Electronic Dig and its accompanying tutorial; we did not reproduce some of the data-download features of the original Electronic Dig and the tutorial was modified to account for this difference.
The development of this new edition has taken many years and was helped along by many people whose contributions we wish to acknowledge. The enormous technical challenge of converting the original CD to a web-compatible version was undertaken by two experienced programmers, Mike Shoffner and Merlin Hughes, whose skill is evident in the final product. Additional technical help was provided by staff of the Metalab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Paul Jones, Andre Burton, Serena Fenton, Max Gustashaw, Patrick Herron, Jason Moore, Fred Stutzman, and Don Sizemore. Mark Simpson-Vos and David Perry of the University of North Carolina Press helped shepherd us through the various publishing issues involved in this transition, most of which were new to all involved. Cat Brutvan and Marcus McKoy, also at UNC Press, designed and tagged the new home page for this edition. And Elena Steponaitis provided both technical and typing help at many points along the way. To all these individuals, we express our sincere gratitude.
R.P.S.D., P.L., H.T.W., V.P.S.

July 28, 2003
Page: Table of Contents, Page Number: v

Table of Contents
Getting Started
The Basics of Using Excavating Occaneechi Town
An Annotated Guide to Excavating Occaneechi Town
Archaeology Primer
An Archaeology Primer, by Vincas P. Steponaitis and R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
Title Page
Foreword, by Lawrence A. Dunmore III
Preface to First Edition
Preface to Web Edition
Table of Contents
List of Pages
List of Figures
List of Tables
Archaeological Background, by Roy S. Dickens, Jr., H. Trawick Ward, and R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
"This Western World": The Evolution of the Piedmont, 1525-1725, by James H. Merrell
Occaneechi-Saponi Descendants in the Texas Community of the North Carolina Piedmont, by Forest Hazel
Context Descriptions, by H. Trawick Ward, Gary L. Petherick, and R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
Introduction to Artifact Analyses
Pottery, by R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
Stone Tools, by V. Ann Tippitt and I. Randolph Daniel, Jr.
Shell Ornaments, by Julia E. Hammett
European Trade Artifacts, by Linda Carnes-McNaughton
Food Remains
Animal Remains: 1983-1984 Excavations, by Mary Ann Holm
Animal Remains: 1985 Excavations, by Mary Ann Holm
Animal Remains: 1986 Excavations, by Mary Ann Holm
Plant Remains: 1983-1984 Excavations, by Kristen J. Gremillion
Plant Remains: 1985 Excavations, by Kristen J. Gremillion
Plant Remains: 1986 Excavations, by Kristen J. Gremillion
Occaneechi Town: A Summary of Archaeological Findings, by H. Trawick Ward and R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
The Evolution of Siouan Communities in Piedmont North Carolina, by R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr. and H. Trawick Ward
Burial Practices, by H. Trawick Ward
The Impact of Old World Diseases on the Native Inhabitants of the North Carolina Piedmont, by H. Trawick Ward and R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr.
The Occaneechi and Their Role as Middlemen in the Seventeenth-Century Virginia-North Carolina Trade Network, by R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr. and H. Trawick Ward
Electronic Dig
Interactive Electronic Dig
Electronic Dig Tutorial
References A-G
References H-R
References S-Z
Overview of Downloads
Text Files
Map Files
Database Files

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