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Colonial-Era Rappahannock Site Uncovered in Virginia

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Drone Shot Fones WebRICHMOND COUNTY, VIRGINIA—Fredericksburg.com reports that a team of archaeologists and field school students from St. Mary's College and members of the Rappahannock Tribe have discovered remains of what may have been the site of Rappahannock religious ceremonies in the eighteenth century. Excavating on a 250-acre parcel of land situated along Fones Cliffs, a strech of steep cliffs on the banks of the Rappahannock River, the researchers believe they have uncovered a property described in historical documents as the home of a once-enslaved Native individual known as Indian Peter. Indian Peter is recorded to have been manumitted in 1699 and may have lived at the site between 1700 and 1730, hosting community gatherings and rituals overlooking the river. Artifacts uncovered at the site include crystals and hand-etched pieces of glass, which archaeologists say may have been used in ceremonies, as well as English and German ceramics, a wineglass stem, and a copper buckle. The team hopes to eventually locate additional Rappahannock settlements along the river, which are recorded in the tribe's oral history and were described by John Smith in a 1608 account. To read more about the archaeology of colonia-era Virginia, go to "Letter from Virginia: American Refugees." 

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