DHR Announces Publication of "The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples"
—Partially funded by DHR, the book is a joint publication of the Archeological Society of Virginia and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists—
—Focused on Virginia’s pre-European Contact past, the multi-author volume is for scholars and readers interested in Virginia’s American Indian archaeology—With partial funding from the Department of Historic Resources, the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA) recently completed a yearslong effort to produce The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples, a book about Virginia’s pre-European Contact past. Edited by Elizabeth Moore, DHR’s state archaeologist, and Bernard K. Means, a professor of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University, The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples surveys a timespan that stretches back more than 15,000 years, as evidenced by the Cactus Hill Archaeological Site in Sussex County and numerous other sites throughout Virginia. ASV independently published The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples through Amazon’s print-on-demand publishing program. That approach makes the title widely available in an attractive softcover edition to scholars and lay readers, while saving the organizations upfront publication expenses. Featuring more than 100 photos, maps, tables, and illustrations, The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples costs $40 and may be purchased through Amazon (www.amazon.com). The organizations will use proceeds from sales of the book to fund future publishing projects. The editors and six other contributing archaeologists to the volume range chronologically across the major temporal-cultural divisions that scholars use to discuss American Indians in Virginia and the extended Mid-Atlantic region during the pre-Contact past. The authors enlist the findings of recent archaeology, new technologies, and evolving research to discuss—and question—current ideas about Virginia’s First Peoples during the Paleoindian through the Early Archaic, Archaic, and Early and Late Woodland periods. The eleven chapters of The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples cohere as follows:
- The first two, authored by Christopher Egghart, an archaeologist with the Department Environmental Quality, discuss the rivers and natural resources that divide and shape the lands that American Indians traversed, exploited, and settled.
- In chapter three, Cliff Boyd, a professor of anthropological sciences at Radford University, looks at the pre-Paleoindian and Paleoindian periods.
- Michael Barber, DHR’s former and now-retired state archaeologist, follows with a chapter-length examination of the Early Archaic, a period marked by significant climate change with the end of the last major Ice Age.
- In chapters five through seven Egghart considers the remainder of the Archaic period and the beginnings of the Early Woodland period, which is characterized by people’s use of ceramics, the emergence of a physical and natural environment more resembling our own, and an increase in the size and duration of human settlements.
- Carole Nash, a professor in JMU's College of Integrated Science and Technology and director of its Environmental Archaeology Lab, considers in chapter eight the ambiguity surrounding aspects of the Middle Woodland period.
- The last three chapters focus on the Late Woodland, a period rich in archaeological and ethno-historic documentation today. Keith Egloff, DHR’s former Tidewater regional archaeologist, looks at Late Woodland cultures in southern Virginia. Martin Gallivan, a professor of anthropology at William & Mary, and Christopher Shephard, an archaeologist with VDOT, discuss the Late Woodland in eastern Virginia; and editors Moore and Means examine Late Woodland cultures in Northern Virginia.