Rebecca’s Children

This is another chapter from my unplublished book, Digging Sites and Telling Stories: Essays in Interpretive Historical Archaeology.” As such many of the tidying-up chores of a published work, such as filling in the bibliographic details and having ready-for-press visual materials, are lacking here. What’s more, I’m “publishing” here on this blog a work originally written as a much more condensed conference paper in 1991. Times of changed. We now DO see Native Americans in Colonial Williamsburg. And that is a good thing.

Dan Mouer, September 2018

Old and new myths concerning Indians in Virginia’s history and archaeology1

Let me begin by taking an unscientific poll. Do you claim to have “Indian blood” in your ancestry? Do you feel you are a product to some extent of American Indian culture? Have you ever worn, or wanted to wear fringed buckskin or a pair of moccasins? Have you ever taken quinine when travelling to a tropical region? Have you worn silver and turquoise jewelry or owned a Navajo rug? Or lived in a place with a name like Kansas, Tennessee, or Manhattan, or on a body of water named Mississippi or Chesapeake? Have you ever used tobacco products, eaten any foods containing corn or potatoes or turkey or beans? Or participated in any way in the world-system economy which was created and driven for three centuries by the exchange of Native American blood and sweat and silver for East Indian pepper and Chinese porcelain and African slaves…?

“We don’t see any Indians in Williamsburg.”

This remark was made by a noted social historian in 1987 during a discussion following my presentation of a paper on American Indian contributions to 18th-century Virginia foodways (Mouer *). Upon hearing it, I realized that, despite many years of immersion in Virginia Indian history, I had some trouble “seeing” Indians in Williamsburg also. The purpose of this essay is to argue that the reason we don’t “see” Indians in Virginia’s colonial capitol is not because they, their handiworks, and their culture were not represented there in actual history, but because we–meaning latter-day historians and historical archaeologists–have not placed them there in our interpretations. We have parsed the Indian parcel of our history into esoteric academic boxes called “prehistory” and “ethnohistory,” and have made Indian history someone else’s problem. At the same time, we have created or reinforced the cycle of continuing mythic interpretation of the American Indian as something other than real, other than human, other than historical, and–perhaps most to the point–other than “us.”

This denial of Indian heritage would be easily discarded as ignorance or bigotry if it weren’t obvious that our profession seems staffed by people of unusually liberal sentiment, most of whom would undoubtedly identify with the general project of anthropology as increasing tolerance towards cultural variety. A less sinister, and I feel more accurate, view would see academics caught up in the popular myth thatwe—meaning white and black people–replaced them–the Indians–in rapid fashion leaving them little opportunity to participate in our history in a meaningful way, no matter how regrettable this may be. This myth contains some ironies that need exploring, however.

The Indian Queen

It is a standing joke in Virginia that many of the older families of the Old Dominion trace their ancestry to Pocahontas as any perusal of the genealogical and local history literature will confirm. Pocahontas is, indeed, a totem ancestor for many Virginians (Figures 6.1 and 6.2). Many official and semi-official symbols in the Commonwealth contain the figure known as “the Indian Queen” (Figure 6.3). She is derived from historic trademarks or seal emblems used to identify Virginia tobacco. She once symbolized the Indian’s gift to the Commonwealth–a gift that provided the capital to power Virginia to dominance among the thirteen colonies and to finance the Revolution. The Indian Queen is also a reference to Pocahontas–who often is referred to as a “princess” in mythical histories.

Pocahontas was one of the daughters of Powhatan, the paramount chief over most coastal plain Indian groups from sometime prior to the arrival of Jamestown settlers until his death in 1618. Pocahontas, first encountered by the English at the age of 10 or 11, had an unnerving effect on some of those who described her–an effect which if explored with insight would have to be interpreted today with an X rating. One can fairly hear the deep sighs behind the chroniclers’ slim paragraphs. If I read Captain John Smith properly–and he told his story many years after his first encounter with the girl–his was a more paternal impression of the Indian maiden than some, but he was nonetheless smitten. The way in which one young Indian woman was perceived reflect a common perception at the time of the Americas as a “wanton” and “virgin” wilderness waiting to be taken by European conquest and development.2

This sentiment was reproduced in many 16th- and 17th-century paintings; a classic example is *’s Amerigo Vespuci and an American Nativedating to the early 17th century (Figure 6.4). Here “an American Native” is depicted as a voluptuous and recumbent nude female figure greeting–offering herself to?–Vespucci, a standing, male European figure. An even more telling image is a 16th-century Nederlandish work which depicts “America” as a semi-nude female holding the severed heads of male captives (Figure 6.5). Sex and violence comingle in this painting wih wild and mythical animals to create an interpretation of savagery, heathenism, and wildness all awaiting the dominating and domesticating touch of Christian civilization.

The Virginians’ love for Pocahontas stems from Smith’s tale of being saved from the head-bashing stone of Powhatan by the girl who–driven by uncanny love–threw herself around the victim and saved his life (Figure 6.6). Later, through her marriage to the inventor of sweet-scented Virginia tobacco, John Rolfe, Pocahontas helped create a decade of peace and cooperation between Indians and English which allowed the struggling colony to gain the needed foothold on what would become known centuries later as America’s manifest destiny. Head-bashing was the Powhatan manner of execution for thieves and miscreants among themselves; it was not the prescription for dealing with enemy captives–a fate that involved torture and humiliation nearly beyond comprehension and which–to compound the injury with insult–was generally left to the execution of women and children.3

Powhatan had accepted the English as his “brothers”–or, perhaps more correctly, as his “sons.” Perplexed that Smith and others could behave in ways the chief found disrespectful he elected to illustrate his power over all those chiefs of Eastern Virginia whom Powhatan held as brothers. This power rested ultimately upon the head-bashing stone and Powhatan’s ability to capture any chief and deliver him to that fate in Powhatan’s own house. The saving of Smith’s head, we must imagine, at the whim of a young girl, provided–or should have provided–a powerful message: that the fate of the English colony lay entirely with Powhatan or even, at his whim, with his child.

Pocahontas has been rendered in many ways by the historians and artists of America through time, but few of them depict what I suspect to be anyone’s early 17th century reality. Most typically we find her dressed in a deerskin shift, a long braid at her back, a neat headband holding a single feather: not unlike the Land-o-Lakes butter emblem or Howdy Doody’s Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring. Several of us who make Virginia’s Indian history a focus of study were asked for assistance by the new Jamestown Settlement Museum in interpreting Pocahontas. A sculptor had been retained and a lifesize likeness of the Indian “princess” was desired by curators to stand at the entrance to the Powhatan Indian Gallery. Helen Rountree, myself and a few others attempted to depict a daughter of Powhatan. Her dress and bodily decoration may have varied considerably depending which side of menarche we chose to interpret. The twelve or thirteen year old girl dressed–or rather undressed–for summer would have stood in the gallery rendered lifesize quite naked or, at most, her “modesty secured with a tuft of moss and a length of twine” as one chronicler described it (Figure 6.7). Her head may have been shaven or plucked nearly bald. On the other hand, the post-pubescent maiden may have worn a more ample “apron.” Her breasts, thighs, ankles and wrists may have been handsomely decorated with elaborate tattoos and a thick coating of rancid bear’s oil mixed with red pigment. Perhaps she may have been illustrated pursuing “women’s work:” weaving baskets, cooking dinner, impaling burning lightwood splinter torches beneath the skin of a male captive… But fortunately, I suppose, other interpretive devices were sought and found.

Included temporarily in the gallery’s Pocahontas exhibit was her portrait painted from life when she and Rolfe visited England following their marriage (Figure 6.8). Interestingly, “Pocahontas” is not one of the names that appears on the painting. Instead her adult or–if Woodward (*) is correct–her “secret” name, Matoaca, is given, along with her Christian name, for she was baptized Rebecca. She was painted, in all probability as she appeared at the court of James I when taken for a meeting between Virginian and British royal houses. Wearing her high ruffled collar and sitting for what must have seemed an interminable time for her portrait, it is little wonder she projected and, through the artist, we detect more than a little discomfort in her eyes. Following her part in Powhatan’s charade with John Smith, Pocahontas was kidnapped by the Potomacs and handed over to the English who kept her hostage at the frontier outposts of Henrico and Bermuda Hundred. She was tutored in English culture and religion by the Reverend Alexander Whitaker and, following receipt of a long and slobberingly sentimental letter from Rolfe who declared undying and intensely English love for the converted heathen girl, both Powhatan and Lieutenant Governor Thomas Dale assented to a marriage. Her life ended in English disease as she awaited the voyage that would return her to Virginia. Rolfe returned with his and Rebecca’s infant son, Thomas, and it is through the many children of Thomas’ descendant, Jane Bolling Randolph, the mistress of Curles Plantation in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century–that those who would be biologically descended from “the Indian Queen” chart their genealogies.

The remainder of Virginia’s Indian history as recounted through most recent texts, museum exhibits, and–if I may borrow Deetz’s term–archaeographies–involves Opechancanough’s massacre of 1622, his second massacre of 1644, and the Indian wars of 1676 more commonly called Bacon’s Rebellion, because the internal insurrection among the English is generally considered more important to history than the massacres of Appomattox, Occaneechees, Susquehannocks, Doegs, and Pamunkeys by English-speaking Virginians. In our shared histories, these Indian-White wars generally serve to provide colorful backgrounds and obstacles to be overcome in the conquest of the frontier.

Indians have not been neglected in modern historical and archaeological research and writing–far from it. It is just that their roles have been restricted to the works of archaeologists whose training, background and academic brotherhoods would define them as “prehistorians” or “ethnohistorians” (who have created yet another subdiscipline sandwiched between anthropology and history). What’s more, the subjects about which even these folks are likely to publish are restricted. The “prehistorians” write about trade goods and acculturation as revealed in excavations of post-contact Indian villages–but focusing still on issues of artifacts such as trade beads and copper, while the ethnohistorians write primarily about life in some timeless “ethnographic present,” leaving Indians with no pre-Contact past and no post-contact history. There are notable exceptions to these patterns, and I hasten to point to Helen Rountree’s on-going works on Powhatan Indian history. Other boxes of confinement include the outlets of such materials–most typically papers at meetings and in journals read by other prehistorians and ethnohistorians, but rarely by “mainstream” American historians, historical archaeologists, or the public at large.4

This is not a new problem. Historian Reginald Horseman complained long ago about the “parochial” nature of American Indian historical writing due to historians of Indians being generally methodologically backwards, and thus Indian history occupies a “backwater” in historical writing (Martin 1987). Calvin Martin feels there are more reasons than methodological ones and describes the “yawning disinterest” of most historians in the subject:

The majority of American historians seem to regard the whole issue as an endless tale of woe and atrocity committed mostly against Indians, a litany many find redundant, tiresome, and depressing. More pointedly, the Indian experience is viewed, and so treated, as a curious, even quaint sideshow within the larger panorama of Anglo-American performance and achievement in North America. (ibid: 9)

Robert Berkhofer (1987) described his attempts to submit a doctoral degree on a subject related to the history of American Indians in the 1950s. He was warned by advisors that Indians were not properly part of the field. He was told that theyshould be left to ethnologists and others. If he wrote his dissertation on Indian-white relations, he could never hope to gain professional acceptance. His dissertation was listed in Dissertation Abstractsunder “Anthropology,” even though he requested it be listed under American religious history. Berkhofer sees the field as having changed these past 30 years or so. The “New Indian History” is upon us. The field is overflowing with historians studying Indians. Berkhofer ascribes the trend to the expanding interest in and concern for the inclusion of blacks, women, and other groups formerly “omitted from the mainstream of American history” (Berkhofer 1987: 36). But the trend is still young, and the lacuna in American historiography is vast. Berkhofer asks:

Have Indians…been as significant as blacks in history books or in making a “name” for an historian? Is the Civil War more important than the French and Indian War in determining the destiny of Anglo-Americans? The former generally receives far more extensive treatment in historical surveys of the American past than the latter. (Berkhofer 1987: note 1)

To both Martin and Berkhofer a key problem in the writing of Indian history by (primarily) white historians is the inability to escape ethnocentrism. Berkhofer notes the range of approaches and comments:

I have explored some of the implications and difficulties of the effort to eliminate the ethnocentrism of the traditional Turnerian approach to the American frontier… Neither a concentration upon stages of acculturation as found in American anthropology of the 1950s, nor the repudiation of white domination of the acculturative process and the corresponding stress on creativity of the dominated … [in the 1960s and 70s], nor even the exploration of the implications of the Capitalist World-System in [the 1980s] really solves the problem of designating the who and where of tribal peoples without recourse to white-based concepts of nationalism and political understanding… (Berkhofer 1987: note 4).

Following Berkhofer we should be reluctant to speak of Monacans and Powhatans and Weyanokes and other “tribal” groups. As he states:

…the ethnocentrism of a tribal people in combination with the ethnocentrism of other tribal and Euro-American peoples determined who constituted a tribe as an ethnic identity. The power of the respective peoples vis-a-vis each other then delimited the territory and at times the lifestyles of what came to be called a tribe. Thus the historical space as well as the tribe itself are the objects of research, for the semantics of tribal identity was created through and by history (Berkhofer 1987: p39).

This is even more true when speaking of race. The problem of who is white, black or Indian is a thorny historical, theoretical, and semantic problem entirely wrapped up within the power relations of not only the past but the present, but I’ll speak of that in more detail momentarily (see also Jennings 1984: 5, 18-19, 347). Berkhofer’s essay suggests–though not as severely as Martin’s–that Indian history is all but impossible without ethnocentrism. Many feel there is a need to write a “true” Indian history that is not written from white perspectives. I would like to suggest that this idea–that white and Indian history can be separated after Contact–is itself problematic.

Anthropologists routinely confront the problem of ethnocentrism, and continually debate the question of the “other” and how to approach it. But this is not even the classical anthropological problem. I would argue, as do many anthropologists and Indian historians, that the insistence on the attempt to write a different kind of history about a different kind of world–an Indian world distinct from the world of the Non-Indian writer–is itself ethnocentrist (see, for instance, the essays by Washburn and Dorris in the Martin volume). Eric Wolf writes in his book Europe and the People Without Historyof the encompassing of peoples throughout the globe into the economy and history of the modern world-system. The spread of European influence, culture, and disease created a web of “causes and consequences” which engulfed all peoples into a common history:

In the process, the societies and cultures of these people underwent major changes. These changes affected not only the people singled out as the carriers of “real” history but also the populations anthropologists have called “primitives” and have studied as pristine survivals from a timeless past. The global processes set in motion by European expansion constitute theirhistory as well. There are no “contemporary ancestors,,” no “people without history.”.. (ibid.**check ref: 385).

Brian Fagan (*) comes to a similar conclusion. He argues forcibly that the arrival of Columbus on these shores set up interactions between Old and New World peoples which would profoundly change each. Neil Salsbury makes a similar point, and one that is especially germane to this paper:

Many historians, anthropologists and archaeologists work from a methodological inconsistency which cannot be justified by recourse to any currently acceptable scientific or humanistic premises, one which implies that Indians lack not only a past of their own but a present and a future as well. The implication might bear debating were it not for the wealth of evidence against it, much of it produced by these very scholars. At the heart of the inconsistency is the scholars’ inability to break their myth-rooted habits once and for all and, instead, approach Indian history as historians supposedly approach other subjects, that is, by envisioning events in past time as occurring in multifaceted contexts and by bearing in mind that history consists, quite simply, of the processes of change and continuity over time, processes from which no human or collection of humans can be exempt. This means, first, casting aside the patently ahistorical notions of “prehistory,” “ethnographic present,” “historical baseline” and “protohistory,” all of which qualitatively differentiate the Native American past from the European past and prevent us from seeing it on its own terms and as a continuum. (Salsbury 1987: p. 47).

The Indian has been many things to those of America and the rest of the world who do not consider themselves to be Indian. Many fine books and essays have explored the role of Indians in our own mythic histories. Some of the “New Indian Historians” could even be described as having “gone native,” seeking to find an Indian perspective to history; historians, apparently, have their Casta–edas, too. In reviewing some of the roles Indians have played for history, Martin notes:

One senses in all of this the American Indian wearing the mantle of savior, rescuing us from the disastrous course of history, or at least our rendition of it… Indians of course have a long and distinguished career in the service of European and American causes, from their duty as “noble savages” at the hands of the French philosophes, to surrogate slaves in the fervent rhetoric of antebellum abolitionists, to lost souls in the impaginations of numberless missionaries, to a cohesive influence in the “frontier thesis” of Frederick Jackson Turner and his disciples, all the way up to ecological gurus in the environmental scare of the 1960s. In each instance, Indians are pulled and twisted into a grotesque shape, a caricature of the genuine article, by those purporting to speak for or about them, or using them for this or that cause. We tend to invent Indians for all seasons; it’s one of the interesting quirks of our culture. (Martin 1987: 24).

The writing of Indian history or archaeology is not qualitatively different from writing any history or archaeology. Mostly white, predominantly male, 20th-century scholars are in no more privileged a position to interpret 18th-century plantation culture than they are in when they encounter 18th-century Indians, Classic Period Mesoamericans, Ancient Greeks, or present-day San Bushmen. Ethnocentrism and anachronism always need to be dealt with. The solution has traditionally been sought in critical analysis, an open mind, and a comprehensive mastery of the relevant scholarship and sources. In short, the problem with historiography vis-a-vis Indians is that, even with the extensive amount of research and writing being done today, Indian history is still viewed as apart from the mainstream. Nowhere is this more evident than in Virginia and Virginia’s historical archaeology.

Are there Indians in Virginia’s history after 1622? 1644? 1676?

Archaeologists and historians alike are constrained by their sources. If the historical and archaeological records were mute about Virginia Indians after, say, Opechancanough’s second uprising of 1644 or Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676, there would be little to do but speculate vacuously about their presence, absence, importance, or lack thereof in Virginia’s history. But nothing could be further from the truth. As Gary Nash has written:

Our history books have largely forgotten what was patently obvious throughout [the late Colonial Period]–that much of the time and energy of the [French, Spanish and English colonial] governments…was spent negotiating, trading, and fighting with and against Indians of various cultures, and filing reports, requests, and complaints to the home governments concerning the state of Indian affairs. (Nash 1982: 223)

To claim that Indians were not a very significant element in the history and culture of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia requires ignoring the weight of both historical and archaeological evidence. In his essay on Chesapeake historiography, Thad Tate (*) repeatedly notes that historians have overlooked the history of the Indian peoples; Indians were far more important to Colonial Virginians than they are to today’s historians and archaeologists.

Even a minimal reading of period sources and period histories makes it patently obvious that Indians were on nearly everyone’s mind throughout the 18th century, and well into the 19th century, even in Virginia. Certainly a perusal of Kercheval’s or Doddridge’s early 19th century histories of the Valley of Virginia contain very few pages that don’t discuss Indians and Indian-white relations (Kercheval 1833). Earlier works–those of Jefferson, Hugh Jones, William Byrd II, Robert Beverley and others contain, as a percentage, a much greater emphasis on the Indian as a substantial part of Virginia’s history than do recent works–other than those specifically classifiable as “ethnohistories,” that is.

A perusal of Swem’s Index (*), the encyclopedic guide to Virginia historical sources and early writings, reveals what I would wager to be some surprising insights. Mentions of Indians in 17th-century Virginia are understandably numerous, but nowhere near as numerous as those for the 18th century. In fact, under the basic classification “Indians,” Swem’s lists several thousand separate entries. And these are distinct from the entries indexed under Indian Wars, Indian Acts, Indian Towns, Indian Houses, Indian Chiefs, and dozens of other headings. In addition, Swem’s lists more than 300 distinct Indian group names and perhaps 1,000 Indian personal names as index headings. The entries in Swem’s say nothing of the numerous 17th- and 18th-century county court and vestry records dealing with Indians incidentally or directly. Everyone who has researched properties in Virginia’s colonial records is aware of mentions of Indian towns, Indian cabins, Indian paths; lawsuits by and against Indians, wills passing Indian servants to heirs or freeing them, etc. The thousands of Indian names in the records–some clearly in Indian languages, some creolized, and some patently English–provide potential grist for the genealogical mill.

Besides the standard public documents, such as acts of the assembly, there are a number of important Indian texts extant in the literature. Like many such texts, they have often been translated, transcribed, or rendered by Indian agents, although many are verbatim records or original inscriptions. Texts such as the Queen of Pamunkey’s response to the Governor’s Council on being asked to render assistance against the Susquehannocks, or the great Delaware orator Logan’s eulogy and cry for vengeance upon having his family brutally eradicated by Virginia militia, or Cornplanter’s furtive request that Virginia permit he and his people to live as Virginians and worship the Virginian’s God…these and many other texts provide a fresh, nearly untapped source of interpretive material.

Mainstream histories of Virginia still ignore Indians. Look, for instance, at Rhys Isaac’s wonderful volume, the Transformation of Virginia 1740-1790. This Pulitzer Prize-winning book contains one of the best accounts of 18th century Virginia yet published, but contains no hint that Indians were present, let alone important. The major theme of Isaac’s book is the social and cultural revolution that arrived with the Great Awakening in Virginia in the 1740s. The beginnings of momentous changes that lead directly to the dissolution of the Tidewater oligarchy and the American Revolution are traced to the stirrings of the Hanover dissident revolt, the Parson’s Cause, and the teachings of that magical orator, the Reverend Samuel Davies. Among Davies’ many notable contributions–and greatly stressed by Isaac–was his acceptance of black slaves into his congregations, and his teaching them to read, write, and learn the gospel. But one would think there were not even Indians in the Hanover up-country frontier of the 1740s and 1750s, and yet our recent excavations at Davies’ church recovered classical Colono-Indian ware–not surprising as the church stood on Totopotomoy Creek a short distance from the largest concentration of Indians in Virginia, even today. A reading of Davies’ sermons reveals his very strong negative, highly racist, feelings about Indians. This is simply one example where both the texts and the archaeology reveal Indians, but the historiographer doesn’t see them.

Every archaeologist of 18th-century Virginia’s towns and plantations has collections of Colono-Indian wares, and the evidence is clear that the majority of what has been classified as Colono-Indian Ware in Virginia was primarily made by Indians (Figures 6.8-6.11). Many historical archaeologists have begun to take as gospel James Deetz’s (1988*) assertion that Virginia colonoware, to use the generic term, was made by African-American slaves. While it is likely that someChesapeake colonoware pottery was produced by black slaves, this remains a hypothesis, not a well-studied conclusion. A century’s worth of archaeological and ethnographic work, and a sizeable body of historical data, clearly supports the long-established fact that most Colono-Indian Ware in Virginia is just what No‘l Hume (*) said it was: the product of local Native American craftsmen or, more likely, craftswomen (Mouer et al, in press *).

Deetz’s conclusion follows from the work of Leland Ferguson and his colleagues in South Carolina and Georgia. Since much of the locally made, hand-built, low-fired pottery excavated on early Carolina plantation sites is found in slave quarters, as it typically is in Virginia, research there began to attack the question of possible slave manufacture. Ferguson has concluded that, with the exception of a distinctive pottery known as Catawba Ware, Colono-Indian pottery in the Lowcountry was probably made by black slaves. In the West Indies, similar locally produced hand-made earthenwares are generically referred to as West Indian wares or Creole Wares. Why, one must wonder, is the diversity of such pottery, as well as the diversity of its colonial creators, easier to see in South Carolina or the Caribbean? I am convinced that the idea that African-Americans produced most, or all, of Virginia’s colonoware is a product of the recurring myth of the “disappearing” Indians.

At about the same time Deetz published his article, Matthew Emerson completed a dissertation for the University of California at Berkeley (Emerson 1988*) which asserted that another class of artifacts, the ubiquitous 17th-century decorated tobacco pipes, which Emerson named “Chesapeake” pipes, were also the products primarily of black servants and slaves. Again, this conclusion is not widely shared by archaeologists working in the Chesapeake. Identical and very similar roulette-decorated elbow pipes are well documented for the Late Woodland cultures of Virginia and Maryland. Many of the decorative motifs can be found in prehistoric pipes and in other Indian decorative arts traditions. While some of the decorative motifs have African parallels, and may have been African-inspired, the conclusion–based on comparisons of form, decorative technique and motifs–that the Chesapeake pipes were made primarily by Africans is not supported.5

Tobacco pipes and clay pots have no ethnicities, but their interpretations by historical archaeologists can have a great deal of significance for our understanding of American ethnic patterns, both historically and in the present. The attempt to find archaeological evidence of African Americans in 17th-, 18th- and early 19th- century sites by ascribing thousands of clay pot fragments to them has not furthered our understanding or appreciation of African-American culture in Colonial Virginia. We have known for 30 years that Colono-Indian pots were often purchased for use by slaves; No‘l Hume suggested as much. But denying the Indian manufacture of this widespread trade pottery which lingers in the archaeological record well into the 19th century, and in the ethnographic record into the 20th century, denies once again the very existence of Indians in Virginia’s history and even in our present life.

The problem of 17th-century Chesapeake tobacco pipes is more complex. Emerson has riveted our attention on these fascinating artifacts–many of which are truly museum quality specimens of folk art. His research on these pipes has provided a valuable catalogue of the rich variety of their decoration and distribution. Nonetheless, his conclusions seem to systematically deny the importance of Indian culture in these magnificent artifacts. Many of the key features of African art that Emerson finds in these pipes occur in prehistoric American Indian specimens. To suggest that these pipes were made by primarily by African slaves is to suggest that social conditions conducive to the development of a coherent folk art tradition existed when, in fact, the few Africans living in the 17th century Chesapeake were probably from differing homelands with widely disparate cultural traditions. In the 17th-century Chesapeake they were primarily parcelled out one or two per homestead in a highly dispersed settlement pattern with little opportunity for close interaction and communication. At the same time, Indian groups were coalescing, forming new alliances, and undergoing the throes of attempts at cultural revitalization in the face of massive pandemic plagues and cultural intrusions.

There can be little doubt that these pipes embody a transformation of a once sacred tobacco-related Indian trade system into a craft industry that assisted Native peoples in their adaptation to a world at first shared with but eventually dominated by a culture which viewed itself as separate from, and superior to, their traditional world. Pipes may not have ethnicities, but they can carry symbolic import in their decoration and use that negotiates among a plethora of cultural meanings–both then and now. These pipes, like the tobacco they contained, originated in Virginia’s Indian cultures and represent wonderfully the gift of the “Indian Queen.” They were, in some cases, transformed by English manufacturing techniques, English and African decorative motifs, and they were probably smoked by male and female English, African and Indian servants and tenants in 17th-century towns and plantation quarters throughout the Chesapeake. They contain a nearly perfect symbolic record of the creolization of Virginia’s early Colonial peoples. They beg the question of the disappearing Indian, and they deconstruct the notion that our culture has developed from separate red, white and black histories.

There have been a great many archaeological sites recorded in Virginia which are almost certainly habitations of late 17th-century, 18th-century or 19th-century Indians. Lewis Binford and Gerald Smith both recorded a number of 18th-century sites along the Nottoway and Meherrin drainages. Some of Westwood Winfree’s sites on the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers are certainly historic Indian settlements. The highly important Camden Site, tested by MacCord, has now been more completely surveyed and listed in the National Register by Hodges and McCartney (*), but very little intensive excavation has yet been undertaken. Hodges demonstrated the remarkable potential of historic Indian sites with her excavation of a 19th-century trash deposit on the Pamunkey reservation that was filled with both Colono-Indian and European ceramics of the late 18th- and early 19th-century period. MacCord’s (*) early test of the 18th-century John Green site has never been followed up by a major study, nor has Beaudry’s (*) initial work at Fort Christanna. Prehistorians have debated the possible relationship between the so-called Luray Focus of the Shenandoah Valley with the historic Shawnees for decades, but there has been little attempt to identify and excavate 18th-century Indian-related sites in western Virginia. MacCord recorded a number of French and Indian War forts but, with one exception, there have been no systematic excavations. The fact seems to be that the state’s “prehistoric” archaeologists don’t “see” Indians when European artifacts become common in the sites, and the “historical” archaeologists lose interest if the site proves to have anything to do with Indians. A valuable history keeps falling through the intra-disciplinary cracks.

The blind spot towards Indians in modern historical writing has been perpetuated by archaeological interpretations. I can perhaps best illustrate the “yawning disinterest” many historical archaeologists have in the subject of Indians with a true story. At an annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, which contained a fascinating session on Hudson’s Bay Company posts and forts, I overheard a conversation between two Chesapeake archaeologists which, I presume, embodied a common sentiment. Speaker 1, looking over the program for the following day, opined sarcastically “Oh great! I really can’t wait to go to this session and hear about a bunch of guys selling blankets to Indians.” Upon which Speaker 2 answered, “Why aren’t they giving this paper in some prehistoric meeting. Nobody in the SHA cares about this stuff.” Of course the session was well-attended, indicating that Speaker 2 knew not whereof she spoke. But both spoke volumes about the biases of some of Virginia’s historical archaeologists. If Indians were to be involved, the paper belonged in a “prehistoric” meeting. And I doubt that the bias stops at the Virginia state line.

I also recall hearing a story from a colleague–a former Virginian–a historical archaeologist who found herself perplexed at first when a survey in Alabama had revealed “European” artifacts and pearlware pottery in a place and time where records had recorded only inhabitants of the Creek Nation. This colleague was smart enough to recognize that her training in historical archaeology had not prepared her to know what she should expect from early 19th-century Native American sites in the Southeast. I wonder just how many unrecognized Native American dwellings have been recorded throughout the region as 19th-century “farmsteads” and late 18th-century “tenant houses.” I am heartened to see a slow but steady increase in the number of papers dealing with Native Americans at conferences of the Society for Historical Archaeology. Unfortunately, it seems that a great many of these result from studies done by archaeologists who would probably classify themselves as “prehistorians,” and the result is that these studies are often less than successful examples of historical archaeology.

Perhaps if the effects of blindness towards Indians on the part of historians and archaeologists were confined simply to limiting the usefulness or truthfulness of academic writings, there would be little need to concern ourselves. Those interested in Indians could simply continue to write about them and publish their works in journals read by other scholars interested in Indians. But the effects of scholarship are more profound than that. By maintaining the myth that Indians disappeared or dissolved in the face of a massive onslaught of European and African disease and culture, our works continue to inform erroneous public interpretations of American culture.

Not only do we see no Indians in the Colonial Williamsburg of today, where conscientious scholars may differ in opinion about the importance of such an interpretation, we see no Indians in the Museum of American Frontier Culture in Staunton, Virginia. The frontier museum has already acquired and reassembled farmsteads from Ulster, England, Germany and the Shenandoah Valley at their site in Staunton. The message the museum tells is that the American farm is the product of a cultural blending of these Scots-Irish, German and English traditions. These farms are staffed by living-history interpreters who present to hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, a view of life on the Shenandoah and Appalachian frontier. The problem is that the American farm is a mid-19th century farm. In the mid-19th century, the American frontier was in New Mexico, Oregon and Hawaii. The settling of the Valley frontier lasted between ca. 1720 and 1790, and every day of that seventy-year period was a day that involved Indians (refs: Kegleys Va. Frontier, Kercheval, Doddridge**).

The Frontier Museum includes no Indian traders or Indian hunters, or Indian agents, or blockhouses to defend against Indians. Traveller’s accounts and memoirs of the frontier settlements in the backcountry describe German and Scots-Irish communities in which women ran around quite naked, anointed with bear’s oil, while men wore breechclouts and moccasins. Men also put on war paint and deerskins as they joined their Indian friends in wars against their Indian enemies. And yet the Frontier museum depicts women in bonnets and aprons, and men in traditional “English” peasant clothes: the hard-working yeoman who, having vanquished the heathen along with the primordial forest, have become our mythical ancestors.

Nearly every frontier settler in the Virginia backcountry knew Indians by name, traded with Indians, fought alongside and against Indians, fortified his or her homestead against Indian attacks, and personally experienced or knew of neighbors and relatives captured or killed by Indians. The Valley literally teemed with Shawnees, Catawbas, Delawares, Susquehannocks, Senecas and Cherokees for at least three seasons out of every year of the 18th century. But it seems we can’t even see Indians on the frontier anymore, and this is not simply regrettable as an oversight, it is a whole-cloth Disneyland fabrication of our history and culture.

Nor were Indians confined to the frontier. In the 1720s, one-third of the scholars at the College of William and Mary were Indians. In the 1770s Indians frequented the marketplace and waterfront in Richmond, and in the 1780s Catawbas and Shawnees came to Richmond to draw supplies from the public stores. In October of 1768, Governor Botetourt paid 2 shilling 6 pence “to the Indians for earthen pans”–this being just one of dozens of documentary mentions of the Colono-Indian pottery trade. At Colonial Williamsburg the last royal governor is remembered primarily for having removed the powder from the magazine, but in 18th century Virginia he was most resented for his protracted and bloody war against the Shawnees under Chief Cornstalk–a war that most Virginians felt was designed to detract them from their growing Revolutionary sentiments.

In today’s Williamsburg, Peyton Randolph is remembered as the builder of one the town’s finer houses and as president of the Continental Congress, but Randolph made his reputation as a leader partly through his more youthful venture of raising a militia of gentlemen to fight Indians in the Piedmont and Valley during the so-called French and Indian War (Isaac: 154). Of course that war had little to do with the French as far as Virginians were concerned. It was yet another in a string of Indian wars that ran unbroken by as much as a single decade of peaceful relations between 1622 and 1790.

The Mythic Structure of Indian History and Archaeology

It is by now axiomatic that western thought is dualistic: some, of course argue that all human metaphysics are dualistic at root. But Jacques Derrida has, I think, provided an interesting insight into “Western” metaphysics since the mid-17th century: that being that the terms of the binary opposition are unequal. Ours is not simply a white and black structure, but one in which the second term of the opposition is conceived as a lacking of, a negation of, or as less than, the first. One can be dressed or undressed, but not “unnaked.” Perhaps one of the most fundamental dualisms is us:them. In this case theyare “not us.” And this is the root of the mythic cycle of Indian history written by those who consider themselves to be “us” about those considered to be “them.” Indians are “the other,” and are forever approached as outside, distinct from, and, in the last analysis, less than, us.

Francis Jennings (1975) put his finger on the problem when he identified the running theme of Indian-white relations as perceived by, and somewhat driven by those who considered themselves to be civilized, versus those they considered to be uncivilized (savage, or barbarian). (Note that one can be “uncivilized,” but not “unsavage”). Jennings further notes that the attributes of the “civilized” cannot be pinned down to anything other than the “us” of the us:them dichotomy. Other authors (see Jordan 1968) have tried to argue that color was important; that a basic white:non-white dichotomy was inherent in English culture of the 16th and 17th centuries, or that the real dichotomy was Christian:heathen. Jennings, however, astutely points to English attitudes towards the Irish, who were white, Christian and, in nearly every respect, culturally, economically and socially similar to the English, except they did not have a single over-arching, nearly omnipotent monarchy. Thus they were distinguished as different, as savage or barbaric. Primarily, however, they were other. They were “them,” not “us.”

Today, Virginia myth still tends to conceive of Virginians as “English,” a gloss that carries throughout most of these United States to characterize the dominant subculture. Virginia Colonial history is, therefore, “English” history. And this despite the fact that “by the end of the colonial period, as the Revolution loomed on the horizon, roughly half the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies had no English blood in their veins” (Nash 1982: 200-201).

If Indians are very clearly present in the historical record and historical writing of the 18th century and early 19th century, but are largely absent today, perhaps we can recognize a time period in which our conception of our history–the “us” in the us:them: dichotomy–came to be defined. If I return to Swem’s Index, it is apparent whenthis change occurred. As I mentioned, the Colonial and early Federal records are brim-full of Indian references. There is, however, a severely sharp decline in Indian reference after the beginning of the 19th century. Perhaps the passing of the 18th century, after all, is what really marks the passing of Indians from our history. Perhaps the conclusion of the Revolution, the end of Pontiac’s Rebellion, the fixing and immediate breaking of the permanent boundary at the Allegheny Front, the successful thrust of Virginia’s land speculators into the Kentucky and Ohio countries…perhaps all of this represents the end to Virginia’s “Indian problem.” No doubt all of this figures into the equation, but I feel there is something else at work here. Something structural as well as historical. With the dawn of the 19th century, we began to define ourselves as Americans. In that definition we had firmly installed the fundamental concept of liberty, but we installed it–especially in the South–in a system with a terrible internal conflict: race slavery.6

In post-Revolutionary southern America, the us:them became white:non-white. In fact, the racial category “white” is largely a fabrication of this period. During the Colonial period people belonged to a variety of ethnic groups and social categories: better sorts and lesser sorts, Germans, Jews, Scots, English, Negroes, Catawbas, Iroquois, Civilized, Savage, Doctors, Lawyers, Slaves and Indian Chiefs. But nobody was “white.” “White” as an ethnic entity was constituted at the end of the 18th century, along with its “inferior” complement, “black” (or Negro), as a pole in a structural pair. The term “white” is very rare in earlier documents, but it rapidly became common after the Revolution. The new dichotomy differed from the old us:them structure in that now it meant, quite simply, free:slave, white:black. This was the origin of racism as we’ve come to know it in American life, and its genesis is not some Colonial or ancient heritage, but a newly interpreted modern concept born with the origins of American nationhood. Southern Indians were caught up in this racism. There was too little room for “coloreds” or “creoles” in much of the South, including Virginia. Shades of gray were eliminated in the white:black constructs of the Sambo Laws.

The more dynamic Indian peoples were subject to harsh “removals” throughout the South. Where remnant communities exist many local whites, even today, consider the Indians to be blacks. Exceptions occur with the Cherokees and Catawbas who were among those considered to be “civilized tribes” in the 19th century. William S. Willis (1971), among others, has argued that throughout the 18th century explicit white policy promoted black hatred among some southern Indian groups–notably the Cherokees and Catawbas–as a “divide and rule” strategy. It worked. Many Cherokees and some Catawbas took black slaves, which is one of the reasons they were called “civilized” by their white neighbors.

Many southern Indians even today are biased strongly against blacks and strongly deny and resent any implication of black-Indian or white-Indian “mixing.” This makes for a difficult situation in trying to understand biological and cultural creolization among whites, blacks and Indians. Throughout the 19th century and, especially, during the Jim Crow days of our present century, Indians were forced to choose acculturation to white status, or be forced into legally inferior “colored” status, or be removed forcibly from their lands if they persisted in maintaining a strong ethnic identity, or to remain hidden, quiet, and largely undemonstrative of their “otherness.” Many of Virginia’s Indians responded with this last choice. The “disappearing Indian” did not fall solely in the face of pandemics and land-hungry colonists. They faded into the population. They became white or black, but not Indian.

Some of Virginia’s Indians are only now reasserting their Native identities. While some have remained on their ancestral lands, lands which have been honored as Indian lands by the Virginia government formally since the 17th century, their public images today tend towards Pan-Indian identities emergent in the various 20th-century Neo-Indian revitalization movements. Many Northeastern Indians retained relatively clearer ethnic identities even though contact has been as long and as destructive. I suggest it is because the harsh legalized racism of the South was absent. Virginia offered little choice, especially after Nat Turner’s revolt. One was white or colored. Shades of gray were rarely permitted. Indians living on the reserves remained legally viewed as Indians by the state government, but those who left the reservation had to fight for white status or be considered non-white, and therefore, subject to enslavement. 7

It is only in recent years that members of the Amherst County Indian “band” have come to identify themselves as “Monacans.” Early 20th-century ethnologists, who found these folks living on marginal, hilly lands along small tributaries to the James, reported that they were known as “Issue,” a name which was viewed by the Indians and their white neighbors alike as a derogatory term meaning “mixed-blood.” The name–especially as it would be pronounced by a country Virginian–probably derives from Isha (or Iswa, Esaw, Issa and other cognates), a Siouan term meaning “river people.” It is the name which the Catawbas and some of their Piedmont Siouan relatives have called themselves for many centuries. Some of the Amherst Indians have claimed that they were driven from a village home on the James River by the flu epidemic early in this century. The place they describe as their home is near the traditional location of a major 17th-century Monacan Indian settlement. Even today, few Virginians know of the existence of this group, and yet it seems likely they have been in or near their present location since before the coming of white and black peoples to the Virginia Piedmont.

As Helen Rountree conducted research for her excellent study of Powhatan Indian history, she “discovered” a group of Nansemond Indians living in the City of Portsmouth. Though unknown as Nansemonds to outsiders, this family group has kept their identity through genealogical reckoning in their ancient family bible, through which they trace their descent from *, King of the Nansemonds in 17*. Many other groups living beyond the reservations, such as the Rappahannocks, have long made us aware of their existence, but there seems to be a new pride in Indian identity with each passing year and each new state-wide gathering. Virginia’s pow-wows are attended annually by more people who are more and more willing, anxious even, to proclaim their Native American heritage.

What to do?

A plural history needs plural interpretation. Historical archaeologists, with few exceptions, are white. That need not be a complete roadblock to our recognition and interpretation of Native American culture history. Changing the complexion of those who work in the field is something we must hope for, and work towards, but the position that white and black archaeologists cannot interpret Indian history is an invitation to continue ignoring the Indian portion of our common culture. Such an idea is not only a throw-back to outmoded Whorfian hyper-relativism, it’s a colossal ethical cop-out. Our self-identification as historical archaeologists, as distinguished from prehistorians isa real problem. The segregation of Indian history into separate compartments, subdisciplines, journals, and readings of the past is ideologically conditioned behavior stemming from a mythic view of the world and the academic enterprise. We need to teach a different culture history, and to teach it, we need to interpret it. To interpret it, we need to divest ourselves of–or at least critically scrutinize–certain beliefs concerning Indians, their disappearance, their non-existence, and their very nature in the creolized world we inhabit. To redirect the future, we must rewrite history, and to leave behind violent mythical constructs, we must replace them with new ones. We need to come to an understanding that, in terms of our shared histories and commingled cultures, “we” and “they” are one.

***

Three years ago a “white” couple appeared at my excavation in progress at Curles Plantation. They were pilgrims in search of a past, an identity, roots, as we’ve come to call the sense of history that comes from recognizing that each of us is entitled to a genealogy. The man, a retired military gentlemen, was paying homage to his ancestor, Richard Randolph of Curles Plantation on James River in Virginia, a descendant, as was he, of Pocahontas. There had been three generations of Richard Randolphs of Curles, but his ancestor was one who had moved to Georgia in 1787 and had established himself as the founder of a town there…the town in which my guest had grown up. This Richard had arrived with a substantial fortune and had purchased two plantations. Eventually he had built himself a fine home in the town as well– a home that still stands as an historic landmark.

His grand-daughter Maria–a name descended through the Curles line from Maria Beverly Randolph–had lived to 100 or more, and is still a character remembered by some of the town’s ancients. While Richard has become a totem ancestor, Maria provides the flesh of memory that makes ancestors real. She was very tall, of a dark complexion, and, until her death, retained her jet-black hair that, according to the denizens of this Georgia town, marked her as a descendant of Pocahontas. My problem was this: I could account for all three generations of Richard Randolphs who had been masters of Curles during the 18th century. The first had died at Bath in England. The son and grandson had lived their entire lives and had died in Henrico County, Virginia. Who was this Richard of Curles in Georgia? It didn’t take a heroic effort to solve the puzzle.

Ryland Randolph, the brother of the second Richard of Curles, son of the first, inherited the family’s ancestral estate known as Turkey Island, adjacent to Curles (Figure 6.12). He had tended the family cemetery, assumed the role of family genealogist and had devoted his adult life to embellishing the mansion until it became perhaps the greatest estate ever to sit on the James River. The official genealogies list Ryland as having died unmarried and without issue, but the truth is that he had taken a slave woman as his wife–a not uncommon act of the time. By his wife Aggie, Ryland had borne two sons. Though their names are not recorded the naming practices of the Randolphs suggest they were Ryland and Richard.

Upon is death in 1784, Ryland left a life estate to Aggie his widow and his total bequest to his two sons. Thus the family estate and graveyard of one of the wealthiest and most powerful of the Virginia gentry families passed to two “illegitimate” mulatto children. Also not uncommon was the response of Ryland’s brother Richard who contested the will, and took Aggie and her sons into slavery at Curles. Two years later Richard’s health grew weak and he made his will. He gave to the sons of his brother Ryland their freedom, and some unspecified settlement–with the proviso that they leave the state and make no further claims on Turkey Island or other family properties. The following year a Richard Randolph of the plantation called Curles on the James River in Virginia arrived with his fortune in Georgia where he established a town, a lineage of families, and a reputation that persists to this day.

This Richard and his grand-daughter Maria were as they said–born of the great houses of Curles and Turkey Island, true descendants of Pocahontas–that is, Rebecca. They were also the children of Aggie, whose fate remains unknown but imaginable. This Richard Randolph of Georgia and his Maria are, to me, what we all have become. For we are a nation of mongrels, half-breeds and creoles. We are all Rebecca’s Children. Not Pocahontas, the mythical Indian princess, but Rebecca, the real woman whose life bridged the divide between two worlds and changed all of our histories forever.

1. This chapter grew out of a paper prepared for the session “Is Historical Archaeology White,” chaired by Carol Cowen-Ricks, at the 1991 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference in Richmond.

2. The name “Pocahontas” has been translated as “little wanton,” and the term is used by Strachey as he described her cavorting with young Englishmen in the fort yard at Jamestown.

3. Gender role distinction among most Woodland Indian groups was severe. It is clear from numerous accounts that the role of women and children in captive torture was, indeed, meant as an insult to the captive and his people. When senior males were captured and held as prisoners rather than being put to death, they were sometimes referred to as “women,” just as the Iroquois referred thus to the Delawares, whom they dominated, in the 18th century.

4. Some remarkable ethnohistorical writing exists for Virginia’s Indians, almost exclusively dealing with the Powhatans in the early 17th century period. Of particular note are the writings of Lurie (**), Fausz (**), Feest (**), and the recent work of Rountree (**) whose second volume is the first modern attempt to acknowledge the presence of Indians in Virginia history up to the present. Earlier ethnologies of importance include those of Speck (*) and Stern (*). A very well researched historical work by Woodward (1969) is flawed by the author’s thoroughly biased perspective on Indians. Nonetheless, her book uses some primary materials not found elsewhere.

5. The paper referenced above (Mouer et al, in press *) also deals at length with these pipes. In contrast with the pottery, which appears to have been made in a few Indian settlements and marketed throughout the colony, there is ample evidence that the Chesapeake pipes were made on plantations during the 17th century. This simply underscores the documentary evidence for intensive, nearly daily transactions between Indians and colonists, including the quartering of Indians as laborers, servants, and slaves on plantations.

6. Slavery in southern America was race slavery. A number of students have compared slavery systems throughout the world and have found, in each case, that slave status was nowhere else as tied to a racial category as in the southern United States of the Antebellum era. Degler (*) stresses “that the liberal ideology of the United States drew a sharp line between freedom and slavery which was all too easily transferred into another duality between black and white (*).” Degler compares southern American slavery with Brazil’s slave system. and finds that manumission in the American South was far less common, creole communities were smaller and more rare. There was little tolerance in the South for “people of color,” and slavery was more typically defined along racial lines. Dunn (*) makes the Point that treatment of slaves was harsher in the Carribean and South America , but it was generally easier to get out of the state of slavery, and free blacks were not feared or hated. In the Southern U. S., manumission was infrequent, slave culture more restrictively defined, but internal treatment of slaves generally milder. In sum, slavery in the southern U. S. was more racially defined. This all follows Nash’s (*) observations on higher rates of creolization–and generally higher status of creoles -elsewhere in the hemisphere as compared with the Southern states. One striking parallel to the American South is the Cape Colony of South Africa, which had no plantation system as such, but had racially defined slavery (*). The point is made again and more specifically by Kolchin (*) who compared Southern slavery with Russian serfdom and other world slavery systems. He concluded that the Antebellum South was the only place in his comparative sample where racism was such an important part of the slave system, and he suggested a racist continuum from white serfdon through creole systems of Jamaica, St. Domigue and Brazil, with the American South at the racist extreme.

7. For a blood-curdling example of one the power of one determined and doggedly racist bureacrat to erase Indian identity in 20th-century Virginia, see Rountree (*) and *.

Monumental Decisions

 

Some Timely Thoughts for August 18, 2017

In 1996, I was asked to participate in a panel of scholars and prominent citizens in an open forum as the Commonwealth of Virginia struggled to decide whether the time had come to ditch its official state song, a slightly modernized version of Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, composed by African American songsmith, James Bland in 1878. Many found the song to be offensive due to its romanticization of slavery and its lyrics that used minstrel-like parodies of of African American speech. On the other hand, it was at that time the only state song in the country that had been written by an African American. My advice at the time was that a work of art that offends a substantial portion of the population should be somehow honored for what it is, but demoted from its public pedestal. It could not properly represent all the people of Virginia. Virginia decided to designate the song as “state song emeritus,” retired it, and went on to seek a new state song more suitable to Virginia at the turn of a new millennium.

One and a half centuries after the end of the Civil War, much of the South—the former Confederacy—struggles to decide what to do with symbols that trouble many citizens. One of these is the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. This so-called “Confederate Flag” was never used as an official flag of the Confederacy, but it has nonetheless come to be viewed as symbolic of the South as a distinct “nation” within the larger United States rather than as a bottle flag of an Army that raised arms against the United States.

Similar symbols of the South are the numerous statues of leading generals and statesmen of the Confederate States of America that are found throughout the South. Like the old battle flag, they too have become bones of contention between folks who find them to be offensive reminders of a not-so-grand historic era of White supremacy, slavery and racism versus those for whom they are romantic and honorable memorabilia of a time and culture that formed the South into a distinctive cultural region of the nation.

Today the South deals with this question: Is it time to “retire” the monuments and symbols of the Confederacy? Nowhere is this question more important than here in Richmond, Virginia, the former Confederate capital, and no other display of public art and artifact in Richmond can begin to compete with the grandeur, beauty and intensity of feelings generated by Monument Avenue. Depending on who you are and what you know about the grand avenue and its monuments, you may view them as commemoratives to honor Confederate leaders, especially military leaders, or you may view them as disgusting and reprehensible reminders of the evils of racism. Perhaps you have never really thought about them in depth and they are simply the decorative artifacts of Richmond’s grandest public avenue.

It helps to understand what they were built for, and at this point I believe most knowledgable scholars would argue that they are clearly the product of the so-called “Lost Cause,” a massive cultural mythos evolved in the hope to have the South “rise again” after the period of Union occupation and Reconstruction. Southerners had it found humiliating and degrading to be forced to permit African Americans to vote, to own property, to get education, and to hold public office. No sooner had the occupation ended than the South immediately launched the oppressive Jim Crow era which aimed to undo the progressive actions of Reconstruction and to institute laws and extra-legal sanctions against African American (and other non-White) citizens. Thus began the long ugly rein of lynch mobs, the Klan, and segregation.

Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney has created a commission of scholars and prominent citizens of the city to address the possibility of finding acceptable ways to “contextualize” the monuments on Monument Avenue and, perhaps, elsewhere in the city as well. The mayor’s vision was to seek a solution that would teach the actual history of the monuments, warts and all, without having to take the extraordinary move of decimating an enormously important historic district and its unparalleled artifacts of both the beauty and the beastliness of Gilded-Age Richmond.

I was personally glad to hear about Mayor Stoney’s commission, because as an archaeologist-historian I am a firm believer in preserving our cultural artifacts precisely so that different communities and different eras have their opportunities to appreciate, interpret, loath, and/or love the manifold meanings such artifacts can elicit. I was equally glad to hear that the mayor extended the mission to include gathering public comment and input on the possibility of removing the monuments, especially because he added that he finds them personally offensive. He is African American and does understand what they meant to those who erected them and what they mean to many Richmonders and other Virginians today. Like that old state song, how can a landscape that is so public be permitted to stand when it is offensive to so many citizens.

So to return to my original question: who owns these artifacts of history and culture? Legally they belong to the City of Richmond, I suppose, but I question whether or not the Mayor or City Counsel have the ethical right to remove these monuments without some sort of city-wide, and perhaps even state-wide or nation-wide referendum. At the very least we need a long, ongoing, serious public discussion. As the Mayor’s commission discovered in its first public meeting, this will be a loud, emotional, not always rational discussion. There will be lots of heat before there is any clear light to light the way to a decision that can be broadly supported.

I find the so-called Confederate Flag offensive because it represents institutionalized racism. It always has done and it always will do, ever since it was taken up by the KKK and then again by post-1964 redneck racists opposing integration and civil rights enforcement. My thought about the flag is that if you view it primarily as a romantic icon of the South and Southern culture, then hang it on your living room wall and enjoy it. But keep it out of my face in public places.

I find the question of monuments to be a much thornier thicket, especially the monuments of the Confederacy on Monument Avenue. There is no question that these are major elements of the city’s architecture, landscape and history. They define a major central neighborhood—a neighborhood designated as historic and significant by the national, state and city governments. The monuments have stood for nearly a century and have, therefore, played a very significant role in the spirit and culture of Virginia’s capital. Most Richmonders, I suspect, can barely imagine what a loss they would feel if the city were to have them removed.

Nonetheless, it cannot be denied, that they, like that battle flag, came into being through the post-Reconstruction institutionalization of White supremacy in Virginia. It should not surprise anyone that some of our city’s citizens and visitors who understand that truth find them as offensive as I find the “Confederate” flag to be. Nothing could be more “in your face” than these huge bronzes of generals, an admiral and a president of the rogue nation Confederate States of America parading endlessly down the grandest boulevard in town.

My recommendation to the Mayor and his commission is this. Recent history reminds us pointedly that we have not outgrown the hunger by some to keep alive a state of White supremacy in Virginia and elsewhere in this country. Richmond has been making some very fine progress in conquering that evil in recent years. I am proud of my city, my home and its people for that reason. Let’s not make any rash decisions in the current environment of political rancor, the rise of the “alt-right” and the beyond-the-fringe element of White supremacists currently stirring their long-simmering pot in the Federal government. If the City feels a need to take some action sooner rather than later, then please don’t make it an irreversible one.

Let’s try something like this first. The City could seek help—financial help and planning help—from both the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service which has designated the district as a National Historic Landmark. The effort would be to continue considerably extend the mayor’s original plan of seeking the best practices for contextualizing the monuments. I would personally love to see fairly prominent signage at the major entries to the district on and adjacent to the Avenue. Such signage would state unequivocally that the district began shortly after the Civil War as a search to erect a monument to General Lee upon his death. That initial idea lay mostly dormant until after Reconstruction when it became perhaps the most prominent urban-art expression of The Lost Cause. Further signage at each statue could address both appropriate histories of the persons represented there, but they should also detail the complex meanings of the Lost Cause, the rise of the myth of Southern honor and chivalry as well as the unambiguous effort to subjugate African Americans and codify White supremacy in the South.

Perhaps the messages of such signage could be more extensively interpreted through a Monument Avenue museum: a small but purpose-driven institution perhaps run or advised by the Virginia Historical Society, the Valentine or the City, funded, one would hope by both private benefactors and public governments up to and including the National Park Service or other appropriate Interior Department entity. The mayor’s current commission might best give way to a permanent entity responsible to the city’s public for the ongoing interpretation of Monument Avenue.

This is just one citizen’s ideas, not even fully formed. That said, they are the ideas of someone who devoted most of his adult professional life to discovering, conserving and interpreting the history and culture of Richmond and its surrounding region of Central Virginia. I have probably given as much thought as anybody to the meaning of our material artifacts and how they can be used to help our communities progress towards an ever more enlightened understanding of our shared histories and destinies.

Four Papers on Prehistory and Ethnohistory in Central and Eastern Virginia from the 1980s

 

Here you will find links to four papers concerning work my colleagues in two multi-year survey and excavation projects called The James River Survey and The Henrico Project. Thanks much to Lyle Browning for helping me recover these works from publications that are now ancient artifacts themselves. These are all somewhat longish papers that are stored on WordPress as .pdf files. Feel free to read online or download them to your own hard drive if you like.

 

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Down to the River in Boats: the Late Archaic/Transitional in the Middle James River Valley. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L. Ryder and E.G.Johnson), 1981

The Elk Island Tradition: an Early Woodland regional society in the James River piedmont. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L.Ryder and E.G.Johnson), 1981.

Powhatan and Monacan Settlement Hierarchies. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Virginia, 1981.

Monacan Archaeology and Ethnohistory, from Piedmont Archaeology, ed. byMark Wittkofski, Virginia Historic Landmarks Commision, Richmond, 1984.

 

A Pocahontas For All Seasons

A Review of Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend, by William M. S. Rasmussen and Robert S. Tilton. Originally published in 1995. William and Mary Quarterly, Institute of Early American History, Williamsburg. Winter 1995.

By L. Daniel Mouer, Ph. D.

It is ironic that the only image we have of Pocahontas which has any claim to having recorded an “authentic” vision taken from life was made at the end of that short but astonishing life. The engraving by Simon van de Passe, made in 1616, only a year before her death, portrays Pocahontas already transformed into a mythical figure. The Virginia Historical Society exhibit, Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend, and the exhibit catalogue which bears the same title, attempt to counterpose the life, the “reality” of Pocahontas, over against the “legend,” the imagined, culturally charged suite of stories and images which have gained mythical proportions in America’s historical identity. But it is no more possible to separate the life from the legend of Pocahontas than it is to do so for Marilyn Monroe or Attila the Hun. Some lives were lived as legends; none more so than that of Pocahontas.

In his foreword to the exhibit catalogue, Virginia Historical Society Director Charles F. Bryan, Jr. asks, “How accurate is the story [of Pocahontas]? Is more myth than reality?” From my perspective–that of an anthropologist–the contrasting of “myth” with “reality” is a peculiar one. All human worlds have their myths: the stories known to some degree by all members of a culture, whether they are believed to represent real persons and events or not. Myths are quite as real as anything created by the human imagination, and their power to influence, direct, and inspire collective identity and action is immense.

Historian Calvin Martin once noted:

Indians of course have a long and distinguished career in the service of European and American causes… In each instance, Indians are pulled and twisted into a grotesque shape, a caricature of the genuine article, by those purporting to speak for or about them, or using them for this or that cause. We tend to invent Indians for all seasons; it’s one of the interesting quirks of our culture. (Martin 1987: 24).

There are few Indians who have been invented and re-invented as frequently, and to such varied effects, as Pocahontas. Her image was well under construction by the time William Strachey wrote of the naked youth turning handsprings in Jamestown fort at the age of 11. Certainly, Captain John Smith’s accounts of her life–including the mythically proportioned epic of her saving his life at Werowocomico–were written many years after her death and, most scholars agree, with Smith’s concerns reaching beyond the recording of unvarnished “reality.”

Her portrait from life depicts her in all probability as she appeared at the court of James I when taken for a meeting between Virginian and British royal houses. Wearing her high stiff lace collar and sitting for what must have seemed an interminable time for her portrait, it is little wonder she projected and, through the artist, we detect more than a little discomfort in her eyes. Interestingly, “Pocahontas” is not one of the names that appears on the engraving. Instead her adult name, Matoaca, is given, along with her Christian name, for she was baptized Rebecca. The Lady Rebecca was within her own lifetime a creation of myth-makers including, in no small part I suspect, her own manipulations of the legend. Nobody can separate the life from the legend: not I, and not the authors of this fine catalogue and curators of the wonderful exhibit it refers to.

The authors/curators should be commended for bringing together a very fine series of representations–in historical documents, literature and, especially, in visual arts–of both European and American re-inventions of Pocahontas, “for all seasons,” from the 17th century to the present. The images run the temporal gamut from John White’s sumptuous watercolors of late 16th-century Carolina natives to the picture which, undoubtedly, will form the persistent archetypal image of the Powhatan “princess” for the rising generation: the ochre-skinned, olive-eyed, two-dimensional beauty swept in a blue wind-blown mist, the animation frame which served as the PR advance of Disney’s 1995 movie version of the Pocahontas story.

Many of the images are unabashedly romantic; particularly, but not exclusively, some of those of the 19th century. In some of these works Pocahontas looks not so much like a willing pawn in games of 17th-century colonial politics, but like the Land-o’-Lakes Butter lady, or Howdy Doody’s Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring. Many artists have taken to heart the apparent meaning of Pocahontas’s childhood name, and have depicted her as something of a “wanton,” with clinging deerskin shifts falling from her shoulders, often with a single breast exposed. Others, seeking genealogical authentication from ancestral portraits have pictured Pocahontas as the perfect, if perfectly exotic, English lady. Many of these works, we learn from the text, were made by artists consumed with a passion to recover the “authentic” Pocahontas. Pocahontas has been used to symbolize and defend the South, to lay claims to lofty family status, and to sell tobacco. Each of these, and many, many more “grotesque shapes” into which we have twisted Pocahontas and her legend lay equally eloquent claims to “authenticity.”

The authors tell us, for example, of the quest of painter John Gadsby Chapman, through Britain and America, for portraits, artifacts, and documents which would permit him to bring a detailed authenticity to his 1830s work, “The Baptism of Pocohontas,” which presently hangs in the U. S. Capitol rotunda. Despite this intense will to represent the real, the resulting image is a monumental romance of post-classical space and gesture, mingled with a mock-Renaissance light and palette. The effect to modern eyes is impossibly dreamed-up. Perhaps the most recent attempt to re-interpret the van de Passe portrait is Mary Ellen Howe’s “Pocahontas,” completed in 1994 and shown, I believe, for the first time in this exhibit. Ms. Howe, too, brought a nearly manic intensity to her search for an image of the “real” Pocahontas. She examined the facial structures of a contemporary Rappahannock woman, and studied details of early 17th-century embroidery and beadwork. The result, the authors tell us, “is probably the most accurate portrait of Pocahontas that has been or can be painted” (p. 49). This quest for accuracy, for reality, for authenticity defines the construction of legends, and this book and exhibit are no more, and no less, than a recent and important re-invention of a grand American myth. It is, nonetheless, a smart telling of the story, and one which offers a refreshingly insightful alternative to Disney’s visions.

The authors end their exploration of the life and legend “confident that artists from different eras and cultures will continue to invoke for their own purposes the woman whom poet Vachel Linsey respectfully called ‘our Mother, Pocahontas’.” (p. 51). Artists, more than historians, have reminded us of the many names of Pocahontas: her childhood moniker by which we know her best; her adult name, Matoaca; and her Christian name, Rebecca; and her married name, Mrs. John Rolfe. To me, this fine collection of contributions to the myth underscores that we are all Rebecca’s children. Not Pocahontas, the mythical princess; or Matoaca, the adult Indian who never had a chance to exist as such; but Rebecca, the real woman whose life bridged the divide between two worlds and changed all of our histories forever.

Reference:

Martin, Calvin

1987 In The American Indian and the Problem of History, edited by Calvin Martin, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

The Pisspot in the Museum or What are you looking for? What have you found? What will you do with it now?

This is a mid-late 1990s update of a 1985 presentation.

I have written much about interpretation and critical narrative largely as they apply to method or epistemology. The word “interpretation” has another common meaning in our profession, however: one tied inextricably to story-telling. I am speaking of interpretation as the translation of archaeological findings to the public through museum exhibits, living-history programs, films, magazine articles and popular books. In 1985 Bill Kelso asked me to address colleagues at the Jamestown Archaeology Conference on the subject of “Public Interpretation in Historical Archaeology.” I looked around and found a gaping void. Oh, there were some programs, but, by and large, they were few and far between. My lecture was critical of our profession for failing to understand our broader purpose in society. That lecture, called “The Pisspot in the Museum and Related Tales,” stirred immediate controversy. On the one hand, some colleagues chastised me for advocating that we could dispense with site reports and move straight to producing coffee-table books (which I didn’t do), while others praised me for revealing archaeologists as the blind, incompetent, self-serving dolts we truly are (which I also didn’t do). The lecture was published in the Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, and, after publication, I received even more telephone calls and letters both condemning and applauding my views. I didn’t know then, and do not know now, what all the ruckus was about, but I had obviously touched a nerve.

Today (late 1990s), things have changed quite a bit.. In Virginia and Maryland many—perhaps most—historical archaeologists take considerable pains to tell their stories to the public. Many have made considerable study of the very process of public interpretation, its ethics, styles, and political dimensions. Today, there are many more archaeologists working in domains which lead directly to public interpretation. Our views of history have had some profound effects: particularly, I think, our democratic, inclusive, perspectives have helped illuminate the contributions of a vast diversity of real people to our cultural and national heritage. Perhaps this is one reason why archaeology has managed to survive, and even thrive, in an era of continually decreasing public funding for such “non-essential” pursuits.

Nonetheless, my appraisal remains largely unchanged. We, as a profession, are so caught up in our own concerns and language that, with some prominent exceptions, we don’t know how to talk to the public. It is something we try often to avoid, or to squeeze into our busy schedules and limited budgets. We still don’t understand our purpose in life. We are not contributors of factual knowledge so much as we are collaborators in public discourse. We are not actually solving problems about how human life actually works so much as we are contributing observations about how it can work. We still, for the most part, think that site reports are more important than news releases. We still appear in documentary films dressed in lab coats sitting in front of computers, rather than whooping it up on a site because we found something nifty. We still tend to talk to the public about how we are trying to figure out what life was really like rather than telling fascinating stories about our sites and their occupants which reveal in meaningful ways what life was really like.

People don’t travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars visiting Williamsburg or Shirley Plantation so they can improve their test scores or predict their neighbor’s behavior. They do it to have fun, to be enriched, to collect memories, to take pictures, to touch something old, to feel rooted. They don’t go to history museums to gather facts. They go to have a good time, to learn something, to reflect, to feel their own humanity, warts and all. We still think of our profession as a social science while the rest of the world looks towards us as part of the entertainment industry. Worse yet, by ignoring or denying the magic we sense in archaeology and stressing instead the fact-finding, calculating, truth-seeking image, we are opting out of our chance—our responsibility—to tell stories that challenge us all to change, that critique our own world’s shortcomings. Nearly any artifact we find on nearly any site could be used, creatively and intelligently, as a nexus drawing our fractured communities together in the bonds of our common experience.

What follows is excerpted and adapted from that old lecture. We’ve come a long way, but we still can use some prodding.

***

As a professor of archaeology I find myself each semester droning liturgically as I repeat the clever aphorisms of modern archaeological truth over and again to students. You’ve heard them before. “It’s not what you find; it’s what you find out.” Or, “archaeologists seek facts, not artifacts.” Of course, we repeat such profundities not only to students, but also to the seemingly endless hordes of fascinated masses who embarrass us with unsophisticated questions about our work, such as, “What are you looking for?” “What have you found?,” and “What will do with it now?.”

Whether our backgrounds and orientations come from history, anthropology, architectural history, art history, or cultural resource management, we archaeologists project our role to be one of lofty scholarly purpose and we often feel, somehow, that we are misunderstood high priests and priestesses trained in an arcane discipline to be keepers of knowledge which cannot fully be appreciated by mere mortals. We work desperately hard at convincing ourselves and others that we float in an ethereal plane far removed from base concerns with artifacts as artifacts. Rather, we insist, it is culture that interests us, that artifacts are only an avenue into comprehension of the complexities of socio-cultural systems, their feedback loops, evolutionary leaps, and normative patterns. We dissociate ourselves as best we can from the stigma of the treasure hunter and relic collector, and it rankles deeply that those who freely indulge themselves in such activities often call themselves archaeologists.

Real archaeologists perform rituals called “digs” in which they unearth relics of the society’s ancestors. These relics, even the most humble of them, are fawned over through a series of dances, incantations, and gestures imbued with great symbolic value. Nearly every scrap of brick and bone and broken dish is thoroughly cleansed. These magically charged objects are then written on in a language understood only by the practitioners themselves— a practice probably derived from Shang Dynasty Oracles or Mesopotamian Scribes. The relics are sorted into special reliquaries which a laymen would, in his ignorance, mistake for Dixie Cups, cigar boxes, and plastic zipper bags. Some are singled out for exceptional treatment by a specialist practitioner known as the Conservator. These objects are electrolyzed, vacuum impregnated, coated, and stabilized. The ritual relics always have the inscrutable black ink inscriptions. Each of these inscriptions is recorded in a catalog which is either a large book understandable only to the initiated or it is a string of electronic digits fed to a nearly ubiquitous idol called The Computer.

Another specialist practitioner is known as the Drafter and he or she spends endless hours making large numbers of mandalas known to the profession as section profiles, site plans, renderings and distribution maps. Archaeologists reproduce these mandalas and write pages of mystical wisdoms about them to be circulated among initiates in secret, limited-circulation journals, or they project them on screens while reciting jargon-laden incantations to gatherings of other archaeological practitioners.

The public knows little or nothing about these goings on, although they readily admit that archaeologists do magical things with relics that no one else really understands. However, the typical lay person believes that archaeologists recover relics because relics have intrinsic magical value. These relics, they suppose, are cleaned and reassembled as necessary, so that they can be placed in public display spaces known as museums. The lay public then goes to these museums on sunny Sunday afternoons, looks at displays of relics, and believes that the arcane knowledge of the archaeologist is transferred to them through a variety of insights gained by a mystical process called interpretation.

It is quite clear that the main reason archaeologists are supported by the public is because of the high value placed on the entertainment, insights and information received from interpretations of displays of artifacts in museums, schools, books and other such places. Since the public loves artifacts, they continue to pay large tithes of the first fruits of their annual harvests to the archaeological priesthood. Despite this, a great many archaeologists are not primarily concerned with public interpretation, especially that which involves the display of artifacts. They maintain that their function is strictly scientific and that they seek facts rather than artifacts.

That this is nonsense can be witnessed on any dig or at any gathering of practitioners. When unusual artifacts are uncovered at sites, there is a great ooing and ahhing. At conferences there are artifacts on display, slides of artifacts prolifically illustrate the delivery of professional papers. Journal articles are liberally peppered with photographs of artifacts. When archaeologists want to be recognized for their work they call press conferences and lead the photographers and video camera operators directly to tables lined with bottles, plates, swords, arrowheads, locks, keys and other relics. If archaeologists were not interested in artifacts why in the world would they spend so much time and effort dealing with them, talking about them, and showing them off to colleagues?

You might well ask why the public does not demand that more popular books be written and more displays prepared and more museums built so that they, too, may participate in the joy of artifacts through the rituals of interpretation. Some members of the lay public have come to learn a sufficient amount of arcane knowledge so that they can go out and conduct “digs” which are not authorized or supervised by the professional priesthood. They spend sunny Sundays at the digs with their friends in the bottle collecting club, the local historical society, the relic collectors’ fraternity, or the archaeological society chapter. Because these individuals are not “properly” initiated, they are sometimes condemned by professional archaeologists as treasure hunters and looters.

These folks, however, boldly display their artifacts. They place them on mantles. They take them to club meetings. Their children take them to schools and practice a laymen’s version of the interpretation ritual called “show and tell” right in their classrooms. They donate them to the local courthouse or library. Sometimes, they give their entire collections to the state, or to a museum or the local university in the mistaken belief that these objects will somehow be magically transformed and appear in interpreted displays for all to see. They are heartbroken to find that their precious artifacts are stuck in cardboard boxes and unceremoniously stashed with thousands of other artifacts in the basements of public buildings.

Due to the relatively small numbers of public interpretation programs, more and more archaeology is viewed as bad medicine and archaeologists are viewed as menaces to the construction of new shopping malls and highways. Even more important may be the growing tendency towards apathy or indifference towards concerns about the past. The public has even taken to electing officials who have a proven record of cutting through the archaeological red tape and bulldozing away sites which are viewed with increasing frequency as mere impediments to progress or threats to private property rights. To counter this trend archaeologists cry out saying we need to “educate” the public about the importance of our profession when, in fact, what we need to do is to simply provide more, and better, interpretation, for that is what the public pays us to do.

Archaeologists are, for the most part, supported by public institutions and/or public funds in order to dig up sites and their artifacts and to interpret these to the public in entertaining and enlightening ways. This proposition is easily tested. Clearly, the most successful archaeological programs in the Chesapeake region, for example, are those which have from the outset defined their purpose largely as one of public interpretation: e.g., Colonial Williamsburg, Historic St. Mary’s City, Alexandria Archaeology, Mt. Vernon, and Monticello. Even Jamestown, for a long time relatively quiescent as a focus of archaeological activity, continues to flourish as an institution of public interpretation spawned by earlier excavations, and is founding a future of re-interpretation based on new excavations.

Many archaeologists have done an exceptional job of public interpretation and, strangely, these are often singled out for quiet ridicule or skepticism by more “purist” practitioners. Colonial Williamsburg’s excavations at Martin’s Hundred are known and highly considered by millions the world over. Ivor Noel Hume’s book about the site is far more important than any technical site report. He is a brilliant interpreter of archaeology and, as such, he enjoys a tremendous popularity. I suggest that he also has been the object of a certain amount of skepticism and jealousy in the profession. I believe that Noel Hume’s dramatic presentations, masterful story-telling and opinionated style are frequently suspected of being a little too unscientific for a proper scholar. By and large we archaeologists do not seem to have the skills, personalities, budgets or proclivities to tell really good stories of our findings to the public, and we mistrust those who do. We truly believe that we are supposed to provide public interpretation, but we find a million excuses not to.

I propose that there are a number of reasons why we often fall short of what I have claimed to be our primary mission in society. As archaeologists we are trained in a wide variety of skills that help us recover artifacts, interpret stratigraphy, analyze data and draw conclusions. We are not, generally, taught how to present our understandings to the public. That is, we are not trained as writers, film-makers, media manipulators, orators, or museologists. If we, ourselves, do not have the skills or personalities to carry out these roles then it seems that we should certainly have such people on our staffs. But, we argue, we do not have enough staff just for the basics. We may not have budget enough to hire excavators, artifact processors, computer programmers, map-makers, managers, surveyors, conservators, drafters, etc. In fact, archaeologists are often used to working on shoe-string budgets and often pride themselves at being the consummate do-it-yourselfers. In addition to a myriad of technical skills, we expect ourselves to be experts in history, anthropology, geology, geography, soils, seeds, bones, architecture, ceramics, carpentry, joinery, coopery, iron-smelting, data-base management, etc.

In fact, we seem to be willing to gain professional or semi-professional expertise in dozens of technical fields while most of us continue to ignore or underplay the skills, time and costs of site and artifact interpretation. We believe that because we can take adequate slides and black-and-white photos of profiles and features that we don’t really need the tools and expertise of a professional photographer who can wield multi-kilo-watt-second studio flash lighting and a 4×5 camera to convert a lowly wine bottle seal or broken teapot into an image of wonder, a mirror for the imagination. (Use comparative pix here of 19t-c pipes photographed by Henry and 19th-c pipes from a tech report)We feel that we can get by with the basic drafting skills to draw our site maps and don’t reach further for the talents and training of an artist to transcend the sites and objects and breathe life into our data. Because we have mastered the jargon and literature of the profession and can write a paper acceptable to a national or international journal, we feel it is of secondary importance to put our knowledge into the clear, engaging prose of the professional writer and to produce books, magazine articles and teaching materials for the lay public.

Most archaeologists are overworked. We often feel we haven’t the time or resources to produce the site reports and professional papers demanded by our academic or professional positions, let alone to engage in “peripheral” work like public interpretation. I would like to suggest that we have our priorities backwards. We labor under feelings of great obligation and responsibility to turn out survey and excavation reports that will be circulated to few, read by fewer, and comprehended by fewer yet. But we feel these reports and papers are needed in order to receive the professional acclaim we require to keep our positions, be awarded tenure, get a raise, or qualify for the next big grant or contract. We justify this enormous amount of time spent producing arcanity as the necessary guarantee that our site’s “data” will be preserved, as if these reports were, themselves, true reflections of reality rather than our own interpretations. If the public read our reports they would be wise to us in an instant. They might well suspect such efforts as a bunch of in-group, self-serving, boundary-maintaining, career-enhancing, authority-establishing nonsense of no special interest to anyone but a handful of other archaeologists belonging to the same citation circle. We are not only cheating the public that supports our work, we are cheating ourselves of a great opportunity to communicate the joy, the love we have for our work.

Interpretation, make no mistake, is creative work. The messages we convey in an interpretive exhibit or well-written, accessible book are messages that will be carried to thousands, or millions. As with all such creative endeavors, we have great latitude in what we communicate. In case there are any doubts about this, I offer a case study which I often assign to my students.

The site is Curles Plantation, home of a succession of Randolphs between 1699 and 1799. By the time of the Revolution there stood here a mansion nearly 100 feet long, with a fine colonnade, a brick kitchen larger than most peoples’ houses, an ice house, a dairy and loft, a laundry, quarters, a storehouse, stables and dozens of other buildings. In the excavations of the 18th-century Curles mansion we encountered a posthole-and-mold feature beneath the former location of the mansion’s central passage. The post, which had been repaired at least once, appeared to have provided a mid-wall support for a massive sill beam, a stain from which could be seen clearly in aerial photos. Beside the beam stain ran a robbed brick foundation. We believe the brick foundation post-dates the post and signals the expansion of the house from a good-size (ca. 40 feet x 26 feet) hall-parlor plan house to that of a massive central-hall plan house more than twice the original length. Within the later of two post molds was stuffed the remains of fine Rhenish chamber pot with incised, painted, and sprig-molded decoration dating from the 1730s or 40s.

The problem I place before my students is this: how can we interpret the chamber pot to the public? I can report with mixed feelings that students don’t generally suggest preparing a large artist’s reconstruction of the pot showing it in actual use in Colonial times (although, perhaps Mr. Noel Hume could suggest an appropriately tasteful work of a Flemish master that would do the trick). Of course, interpreting the “technomic” function—if you will— of the pot could be useful in conveying to a lay audience something of the nature of life without flush toilets.

Communicating a sense of the everyday to foreign cultural situations is one approach, but we may prefer instead to make a political statement. Given the relatively meager material inventories of an average Virginian of the period, we can produce tangible evidence that, in comparison, the masters of Curles Plantation did indeed have very fine pots to piss in. We may even stretch the evidence to suggest the demeaning barbarity of slavery by illustrating servants emptying a master’s pot. Such an image emblazoned itself on my mind when, at the age of 12 or so, I first visited Monticello and its famous tunnel said to have been used for just such a purpose.

Perhaps your approach might be a technical one, showing the archaeological reasoning behind the reconstruction of the house-building sequence by using the pot to provide a terminus post quem to the filling of the post-mold. Such an approach may involve illustrating very similar dated pots from other sites or museum collections. Another archaeologist may choose to use this pot as a fine example of decorative arts and may illustrate the methods used in its potting and firing. Another may feel that here is tangible evidence of the socio-political and economic relationships between the mother country, the colonies and the Rhineland: the world-system at work. The pot may be augmented by a “scratch blue” copy from later in the 18th century to show the rise of British industry and to illustrate the effects of Colonial trade restrictions which helped lead directly to the Revolution. This same line of reasoning could be expanded to include stoneware pots of local manufacture that are abundant at Curles and other sites in the area in the years immediately following Independence. The Curles property also contains the remains of numerous salt-glazed stoneware kilns and tons of kiln furniture and wasters: potentially excellent illustrations of the rise of post-Revolutionary American industrial independence and the victory of entrepreneurship and capitalism. Of course, we could choose not to use the pot in an interpretive exhibit at all. That, we may decide, would place a vulgar emphasis on artifacts.

However we interpret the “meaning” of that pot, we are communicating directly our experience, our fascination, our own communion with the ancestors. We are completing the responsibilities of our positions and, if we are successful, we are providing incentives to the public to continue to maintain the support of archaeology—or even to increase that support. We might even find that, through exhibits, pamphlets, films, and popular books we are consummating our own desires of archaeology by doing what we love to do, sharing the experience with others, and receiving a certain satisfying modicum of congratulations and glory that it is not possible to achieve by simply publishing another journal article.

We must not continue to excavate sites without providing for public interpretation. We must not continue to look down on those of our colleagues who bring their findings to the public through the press or other means as somehow being unscientific publicity hounds. At the heart of the word “publicity” is the word “public,” and we are not so much shamans and priests as we are entertainers and educators, stewards of the public’s relics and interpreters of the public heritage. The more we appreciate that fact and exercise the responsibilities of interpretation, the more we will continue to witness a true public appreciation of archaeology and archaeologists: an appreciation that will pay real benefits of job security, increased budgets and well-deserved pats on the back.

Looking for My Past

I need some help from old friends and colleagues. When I retired from my position at VCU, it was necessary for me to simply walk away without looking back, without my files, and without my library–for a variety of reasons that don’t matter now. However, that means that I no longer have copies of most of the professional materials I wrote during my 28 years working in archaeology.

I am now trying to track down a large number of publications, conference papers, and project reports because I would like to make my contributions more widely available to current and future generations of archaeologists and historians. I am especially interested in copies of old conference papers, because I know I can usually find published pieces in libraries or online.

The following is a list of my professional works taken from my last C-V, dated 1999. Those marked with an asterisk are ones that I do have. All the rest I am looking for. If you have or know where I might find any of these, please let me know. I’d love to borrow hardcopies or pay for photocopies, etc. I will certainly appreciate your help!

Thanks,

Dan (danmouerATverizonDOTnet)


*Unpublished manuscript : Digging Sites and Telling Stories: Essays in Interpretive Historical Archaeology.

*Unpublished, unfinished manuscript: “In despight of the enemie”: The material culture of Jordan’s Journey. Editor of a collection of 12 papers on a major research project I directed.

Publications

*1999 “Colono” Pottery, Chesapeake Pipes, and “Uncritical Assumptions.” In I, Too, Am America: Recent Studies in African American Archaeology, edited by Theresa Singleton. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville. Senior author with Mary Ellen N. Hodges, Stephen Potter, Susan L. Henry, Ivor Noël Hume, Dennis Pogue, Martha McCartney and Thomas Davidson.

*1998a “The ‘Mansions’ of Curles Plantation, ca. 1630-1860.” Henrico Country Historical Society Journal, Spring.

1998b “The Archaeology of Slavery.” Encyclopedia of Slavery, New York: MacMillan Reference.

*1998c “Archaeology Through Narrative: Captaine Thomas Harris, Gent.” Historical Archaeology, Volume 32, Spring 1998. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology.

1995 A Pocahontas for Every Season: Review of the 400th Anniversary Exhibit at the Virginia Historical Society. William and Mary Quarterly, Institute of Early American History, Williamsburg. Winter 1995

1995 “…the place where the pale ran”: Making history in the New Bermudas. Journal of the Chesterfield County Historical Society, Spring-Summer 1995.

1993 “A Parcel of Lumber,” “UFOs,” and “a Lot of Iron, Stone and Earthen”: Archaeology and Kitchen Interpretation. Food History News, Winter 1993.

1993 “Root Cellars” Revisited. African-American Archaeology, Spring 1993.

*1993: Chesapeake Creoles: An Approach to Colonial Folk Culture. In The Archaeology of Seventeenth- Century Virginia. Edited by Dennis J. Pogue and Carter Hudgins. Special Publication of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1992 The Confederate Navy Yard on Richmond’s Waterfront. In The Bulletin of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Volume XI (1), Spring 1992.

1991 Digging a Rebel’s Homestead: Nathaniel Bacon’s fortified plantation called “Curles,” In Archaeology magazine.

1991 New discoveries at Jordan’s Point. In Notes on Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Richmond.

*1990 The Formative Transition in Virginia. In The Late Archaic and Early Woodland Periods in Virginia Prehistory, edited by J. Mark Wittkofski and Michael Barber. Special Publication of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1990 A Review of Prehistoric Cultures of the Delmarva Peninsula by Jay F. Custer. For the Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology.

1989 The Excavation of Nathaniel Bacon’s Curles Plantation. In The Henrico County Historical Society Magazine.

1989 Beyond Fluted Points: Prospects for Paleoindian Studies in Virginia in the 1990’s. In Paleoindian Research in Virginia, edited by J. Mark Wittkofski and Theodore R. Reinhart. Special Publication 19, Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1986 The Thunderjar in the Museum and Related Tales. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1985 Life on the Swamp: Cultural ecology and exploitation of the Chickahominy in history and prehistory. In Research in Action, Virginia Commonwealth University.

1985 An Excavation of the Point of Fork Site (44Fv19), Fluvanna County, Virginia. Bulletin of the Fluvanna County Virginia Historical Society.

1984 A Review of VCU Archaeology. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1984 A Review of Monacan ethnohistory and archaeology. In Piedmont Archaeology, ed. by Mark Wittkofski, VHLC, Richmond.

1983 Social models: information, organization and exchange in regional research designs. In Upland Archaeology in the East, Barber and Tolley, eds., U.S. Forest Service.

1982 Region, ecosystem and world system: a role for archaeology in development anthropology. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Problems of Development of the Underprivileged Communities in the Third World Countries. Indian Anthropological Association, New Delhi.

1981 The Elk Island Tradition: an Early Woodland regional society in the James River piedmont. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L.Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1981 Powhatan and Monacan settlement hierarchies. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1981 Down to the river in boats: the Late Archaic/Transitional in the Middle James River Valley. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L. Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1977 Fission tracks: invisible clocks for the archaeologist. Artifacts, Vol.3. American Indian Archaeological Institute.

1976 The direct dating of cultural lithic material. Debitage, the Student Archaeological Society Newsletter, Vancouver.

Selected Monographs and technical reports

1996 An Excavation at the Cary Peyton Armistead House Site, Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, Va. Report prepared for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

1996 The Archaeology of Court End, A Neighborhood in the City of Richmond, Virginia. Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center.

1995 Jacobs House: Archaeological Evaluations of an Underground Railroad Site. Report prepared for the Office of Planning and Development, Virginia Commonwealth University.

1994 Bermuda Hundred. Nomination report for the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register. Presently under review by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

1994 African Americans in Petersburg, Virginia: Historic Contexts and Resources for Preservation Planning, Research, and Interpretation. Report prepared for The City of Petersburg Department of Planning and Community Development. Project Director and senior author with Mary Ellen Bushey, Ann Creighton-Zollar, Lucious Edwards, Jr. and Robin L. Ryder.

*1994 Jordan’s Journey, Volume III: Preliminary Report on the 1992-1993 Excavations at Archaeological Site 44PG307. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1994 Duncan Road: An Evaluation of Archaeological Sites along Route 670 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Report prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen. R. Taft Kiser, Christopher P. Egghart, and Beverly J. Binns.

*1993 Falls Plantation and the Confederate Navy Yard: An Archaeological Assessment of Richmond’s Eastern Waterfront. Report prepared for the William Byrd Branch, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Senior author with R. Taft Kiser. VCU Archaeological Research Center.

*1993 Jordan’s Journey, Volume II: A Preliminary Report on the 1992 Excavations at Archaeological Sites 44PG302, 44PG303, and 44PG307. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1993 An Archaeological Evaluation of the Hanover County Poor Farm Site. Report prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Christopher P. Egghart.

*1992 Rocketts: The Archaeology of the Rocketts #1 Site, Technical Report. Report in 3 volumes prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Senior author and editor, with contributions by Frederick T. Barker, Beverly Binns, R. Taft Kiser, Leslie Cohen and Duane Carter. VCU Archaeological Research Center.

1992 Jordan’s Journey: A Preliminary Report on Archaeology at Site 44Pg302, Prince GeorgeCounty, Virginia, 1990-1991. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen, R. Taft Kiser, Christopher P. Egghart, Beverly J. Binns, and Dane T. Magoon.

*1992 Magnolia Grange: Archaeology of the Courthouse Plantation. Final Report on a Volunteer Archaeological Project, 1988-1990. Chesterfield County Historical Society, Chesterfield, Va.

1991 The Reverend Samuel Davies and the Archaeology of Polegreen Church, Hanover County, Virginia. Nomination report for the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register.

1991 “Jordan’s Journey”: an Interim Report on the Excavation of a Protohistoric Indian and Early 17th Century Colonial Occupation in Prince George County, Virginia. Report presented to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1991 A Cultural Resource Survey for a Proposed Electric Power Generating Facility in Cumberland County, Virginia (2 volumes). Report prepared for Virginia Power, Inc. by Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center.

1989 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume VI: Archaeology and History at Deep Bottom. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1986 Prehistoric Cultural Occupations at City Point, Hopewell, Virginia. Report prepared for National Park Service Middle Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

*1986 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume III: Phase 2 and Phase 3 investigations in the Upper Chickahominy and Upham Brook basins. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

*1986 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume II: An introduction to Phase 2 and Phase 3 archaeological investigations of the Henrico Regional Wastewater Treatment System. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1986 (Editor and senior author) Archaeology in Henrico, Volume IV: Phase 2 and Phase 3 investigations on the Chickahominy Swamp and Fourmile Creek. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1985 Archaeological Resources of the Richmond Metropolitan Area: Richmond Metropolitan Area Archaeological Survey (Volumes 1 and 2). Senior author with W. Johnson and F. Gleach. Special publication of the Virginia Division of Historic Landmarks and Virginia Commonwealth University.

*1980 Archaeology in Henrico: Investigations by the Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology,Virginia Commonwealth University, Vol. 1. Senior author with R.R. Hunter, E. G.Johnson, L.W. Lindberg, and J.R. Saunders; special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Papers delivered at professional meetings, and selected public addresses

*1999 Revisiting Mapps Cave: Amerindian and Probable Slave Occupations of a Sinkhole and Cavern, St. Philip Parish, Barbados. Paper to be presented to the International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, Grenada, July 1999. Senior author with Frederick H. Smith

*1998 A Conversation in One Act, Three Scenes and Two Centuries. Paper presented in the symposium “Archaeologists and Storytellers II,” at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Atlanta. Co-author with Ywone Edwards-Ingram

*1997 The True Story of an Ancient Planter, Captaine Thomas Harris, as Related by his Sonne. Paper presented in the symposium “Archaeologists as Storytellers,” at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Corpus Christi

1996 Urban Arrowheads: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Quest for the Prehistory of Central Virginia. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

*1995 Digging Sites and Telling Stories: History, Narrative, and the Culture Problem. Plenary Lecture, Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Washington, D. C.

*1994 Rebecca’s Children: Myths and the Indian in Virginia’s History. Banner Lecture Series, Virginia Historical Society.

*1994 Pink, Beige and Shades of Grey: Categories, Cultures, and the Problem of the Common. Invited keynote lecture for the conference on “Common Culture,” Historic Petersburg Foundation, June 1994.

1994 “…we are not the veriest beggars in the world:” The People of Jordan’s Journey. Presented at the Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Vancouver, B.C., January 1994.

1993 An Update on the Curles Plantation and Jordan’s Journey Projects. Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Jamestown.

1993 Rocketts: Community and Diversity on Richmond’s Early Waterfront. Paper presented to the Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Kansas City.

1993 “A Parcel of Lumber,” “UFOs,” and “a Lot of Iron, Stone and Earthen”: Archaeology and Kitchen Interpretation. Paper presented in the colloquium To Have or Have Not: Interpreting Historic Kitchens, sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Virginia, Richmond.

*1993 Bermuda Hundred: Preserving a National Treasure. Oral presentation made to the Chesterfield County Historical Society at Bermuda Hundred.

1993 George Washington’s Indian Clothes: Native Americans and Colonists in 18th-Century Virginia. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Board of Regents, Kenmore Association, Fredericksburg.

1992 Chesapeake Creoles: An Approach to Colonial Folk Culture. Paper presented at the 1992 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Columbian Quincentennial, Kingston, Jamaica.

1992 Jordan’s Journey: An Early Seventeenth-Century Fortified Plantation Village and Weyanoke Indian Settlement on the James River, Prince George County, Virginia. Paper presented to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Ocean City, Md.

1992 Curles, Rocketts, and Jordan’s Journey: A progress report on three major excavations. Paper presented to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Fredericksburg.

1991 The “Upper Parts” of James River in the Virginia Company Period, 1607-1624: Archaeology at Jordan’s Journey and Bermuda Hundred. Paper presented to the Henries Foundation Conference, Richmond.

1991 Three Centuries on the James: Archaeology at Rocketts, Curles, and Jordan’s Journey. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Roanoke.

*1991 Rebecca’s children: a critique of old and new myths concerning Indians in Virginia’s history and archaeology. Paper presented in the symposium “Is Historical Archaeology White?,” at the Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Richmond.

*1991 Postmodern archaeology: Tacking along a paradigmatic sea change. Plenary Introduction, 1991 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Richmond.

1991 “My Father Told Me. I Tell My Son”: Native American ethnicity and education in Virginia since 1607. Invited lecture presented in the series “To Lead and to Serve,” sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy and the Jamestown Settlement Museum, Williamsburg.

1991 Jordan’s Journey and Curles: the 1991 season’s finds. Paper presented at the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Washington’s Birthplace National Landmark.

1991 Historical Archaeology in Hopewell and Prince George. Presented to the Hopewell – Prince George Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

*1991 Chesapeake Creoles: approaches to Colonial folk culture. Paper presented at the Council of Virginia Archaeologists symposium on the Archaeology of 17th Century Virginia (May 1991).

1990 Progress reports: Jordan’s Journey, Rocketts Port, and Curles Plantation excavations. paper presented at the Jamestown Archaeology Fall Conference.

1990 “Jordan’s Journey”: a Progress Report on the Excavation of a Protohistoric and Early 17th Century Colonial Occupation in Prince George County, Virginia. (Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen). Presented at the Annual Conference of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1990 Chesapeake Pipes: another perspective? Paper presented to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference.

1990 “An Ancient Seat Called Curles”: The Archaeology of a James River Plantation:

1984-1989. Paper presented to the Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Tucson.

1990 Two centuries of Late Woodland Archaeology in the Virginia Piedmont. Overview paper: Virginia Prehistoric Archaeology Symposium No. 4, Roanoke, Va.

*1989 The Rebel and the Renaissance: Nathaniel Bacon at Curles Plantation. Paper delivered to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Delaware.

1989 The Curles Plantation Project at the Five Year Mark: Retrospect and Prospect. Paper delivered to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Jamestown.

1989 Middle Woodland II Typology and Chronology in the Lower James River Valley of Virginia. Paper presented to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del. (co-author with Douglas C. McLearen).

1988 Nathaniel Bacon’s brick house and associated structures, Curles Plantation, Henrico County, Va.; Presented in the symposium “Varieties of the Virginia House: New Archaeological Perspectives on Domestic Architecture in Late 17th Century Chesapeake.” Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Hampton.

1988 From ‘house’ to ‘home’ in concept and context; opening remarks for the symposium: “Varieties of the Virginia House: New Archaeological Perspectives on Domestic Architecture in Late 17th Century Chesapeake” (symposium organizer). Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Hampton.

1987 The Lullabye of Broadspears: the Archaic-Woodland transition in the James River Valley. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.

1987 Farming, Foraging and Feasting: Powhatan Foodways and their influences on English Virginia. Presented to the Foodways Research Planning Conference Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, April 1987.

*1987 Everything in its place: Locational models and distributions of elites in colonial Virginia. Paper delivered to the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Savannah, Ga.

1986 Town and country in the Curles of the James: geographic and social place in the evolution of James River society. (Senior author with Jill C. Wooley and Frederic W. Gleach) Paper

presented at the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

1985 What are you looking for? What have you found? What will you do with it now? Invited address delivered to the Jamestown Archaeological Conference, sponsored by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Jamestown.

1985 The Occaneechee Connection: social networks and ethnic complexity at the Fall Line in the 16th and 17th centuries. Presented to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1985 Beyond exchange: ceramics and the analysis of political and social systems. Delivered in the symposium “Pottery Technology: New Ideas and Approaches,” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

1984 Trading for a newer model. Invited discussion paper for the Symposium “Trade and Exchange in Middle Atlantic Prehistory,” Mid-Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

1984 Excavations at Bermuda Hundred: the 1984 season. Presented to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Annapolis, Md.

1984 Bermuda Hundred: from frontier fort to planters port (senior author with F.W. Bleach). Presented to the Mid-Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1983 The Henrico Project: 10,000 years in the swamp. Opening remarks and overview presentation for afternoon symposium on “The Henrico Project” (symposium organizer). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1983 Floral remains, land-use and subsistence at the Reynolds-Alvis Site (co-author with F. Gleach). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1983 Camps on Four Mile Creek: Late Archaic through Late Woodland land-use in a small stream valley (co-author with R.L. Ryder). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1982 Region, ecosystem and world system: a role for archaeology in development anthropology. Delivered to the International Symposium on the Problems of Development of the Underprivileged Communities in the Third World Countries, New Delhi.

1982 Patches and plains: optimal foraging and the adoption of sedentism in the Middle Atlantic. Delivered to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1982 Discussion and opening remarks: symposium on “The Early Woodland and the Adoption of Sedentism in the Middle Atlantic” (symposium organizer). Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1981 The Elk Island Tradition: an Early Woodland regional society in the James River piedmont. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Ocean City, Md. (senior author with R.L.Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1981 Temper! Temper!: Prospects for compositional and materials science approaches to ceramics analysis in the Henrico Project. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Roanoke. (co-author with Gordon J. Bronitsky).

1981 Social models: information, organization and exchange in regional research designs. An invited discussion paper presented to the Conference on Upland Archaeology in the East, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Council of Virginia Archaeologists, and James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

1981 Site and society: a polite assault on the “Gardner Method.” Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Ocean City, Md. (co-author with R.L.Ryder).

1980 Regional research designs: a social approach. Invited position paper for the “Regional Research Design” symposium, annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Abingdon, Va.

1980 Down to the river in boats: the Late Archaic/Transitional in the middle James River valley. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Dover, Del.

1980 Barbarians and hillbillies: social perceptions and regional boundaries in the Late Woodland societies of eastern and central Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Albany, N.Y.

1979 The James River Survey: research methods and preliminary findings. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Virginia Beach, Va.

1979 The evolution of historic settlement patterns in Henrico County, Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del. (coauthor with L.W. Lindberg).

1979 Regional ecology and settlement near the falls of the James River, Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1978 Up Stony Creek without a cord-wrapped paddle: ceramic variation in the James River piedmont and coastal plain. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Arlington, Va.

1977 Temporal, functional and social interpretations of Paleoindian point variation in eastern North America. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Richmond, Va.

1975 The application of system theory to models of cultural evolution. Presented to the annual meeting of the AKD Sociological Honor Society, Richmond, Va.

1975 Early man in Eastern North America: a regional approach. Delivered in a colloquium, Simon Fraser University Department of Archaeology, Burnaby, B.C.