Woodland period refers to the more sedentary cultures that lived
in the extensive woodlands of what is now the eastern United States.
A major innovation occurred about 1,200 B.C. when the people
began making fired clay cooking and storage vessels.
Archaeologists believe this technology was introduced to
Virginia from the people along the coast of Georgia and South
There, the earliest pottery in North America may have been
made as early as 2,500 B.C.
The shape and size of the first pottery in Virginia was
patterned after that of soapstone vessels.
Clay pots quickly proved to be more versatile and practical
pottery vessels were fragile and easily broken, they could quickly
Superior cooking pots, they also provided drier storage
than earlier fiber or skin vessels.
Archaeologists have recorded the changes over time in the
size, shape, temper, surface treatment, and decoration of pottery
from 1,200 B.C. to the present.
This wealth of pottery information provides archaeologists
with ways to help date sites and to define Indian groups and interpret
their interaction and movement.
people undoubtedly lived in various shelters throughout their
sojourn in Virginia, the first evidence for house patterns occurred in the archaeological
record in the Early Woodland period.
These homes were round to oval and from 10
to 20 feet in diameter and from 16 to 28 feet in length.
Storage pits were located along the inner wall of the houses
and fire pits were in the center.
Since the small, but numerous, wall support posts were
driven 1 to 2 feet into the ground, the houses probably supported
a great weight of thatch or bark covering and storage of
belongings in the rafters.
This suggests permanently-built
homes, reflective of a
sedentary life style.
a vessel dated to A.D. 1600
sapling and bark house at Jamestown Settlement