First People: The Early Indians of Virginia

Note: The information in the webpages linked below is taken from the book First People: The Early Indians of Virginia (2nd Edition), produced by the department, and published by the University of Virginia Press. Ancient History of Virginia 15,000 B.C.–Present: People lived in Virginia for about 17,000 years before European contact. The native people had no written language. They recorded their historic events through storytelling and symbolic drawings. Through patient work in the field and in the lab, archaeologists have reconstructed some of the history and lifeways of these first people by uncovering buried clues of their unwritten past.The ancient times are divided into three periods:  Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland.  The years after the arrival of the English are referred to as “European Contact” or the “Contact Period.” For information about each of these periods, select a link from the list below:


Modern Indians A.D. 1800–Present

Indians A.D. 1600–1800

Late Woodland A.D. 900–1600

Middle Woodland 500 B.C.–A.D. 900

Early Woodland 1,200–500 B.C.

Late Archaic 2,500–1,200 B.C.

Middle Archaic 6,000–2,500 B.C.

Early Archaic 8,000–6,000 B.C.

Paleoindians 15,000–8,000 B.C.