Arrival in the Wide Land
University Press of Florida, 2017-5-18
Chapter 4 discusses how the Virginia Algonquian landscape first coalesced as a result of population movements and social interactions involving different communities of hunter gatherers during the early centuries A.D. As documented within the Kiskiak site, the archaeology of this period records the appearance of new settlement forms, subsistence practices, and a ceramic tradition shared across a broad swath of the coastal Middle Atlantic. Historical linguistic studies raise the possibility that these developments resulted from the rapid replacement of indigenous foragers by newly arrived Algonquian speakers migrating from the north. The archaeological record on the James-York peninsula, by contrast, documents the coexistence for several centuries of distinct communities of practice linked to different material traditions. The archaeology of interior encampments and of riverine settlements with shell middens points toward seasonal movement between places where forager-fishers gathered for events that involved feasting, exchange, and intermarriage. These spatial practices introduced during the second century A.D. signalled an emphasis on estuarine settings that has oriented Native history in the Chesapeake to the present day.