Native American bones unearthed
Remains found at construction site may date to Middle Ages

The Daily Advance, Elizabeth City, NC, July 28, 2007
Written by David Macaulay, Staff Writer

    Native American bones likely to date from the Middle Ages have been uncovered by contractors building a new subdivision in Currituck County.

    The burial site was reported by a member of the public to the N.C. Office of State Archaeology, which sent a team down to Waterlily in Currituck County earlier this week.

    The remains were spotted in drainage ditches that were excavated as part of a small subdivision being built on the northern part of Church Island near Waterlily.

    State Archaeologist Steve Claggett said Friday a team had recovered the remains of what was thought to be four Native Americans.

    The team will return to the site to carry out further excavations but it would not delay the development of about 12 new homes because the bones were found in a drainage ditch, Claggett said.

    "It was an accidental discovery associated with some land development," he said.

    "We are required by law to investigate situations like that."

    A two-man team recovered bones from the ditches earlier this week and took them to Raleigh.

    "We believe there were four graves and more bones are still there. We have spoken to the landowners and the developers about returning to recover further remains," Claggett said.

    He said the Native Americans were likely to be Algonquin-speaking natives of the kind encountered by the first settlers of the "lost colony" on Roanoke Island in the 1580s.

    "I can't be sure but I think we are looking at Indians dating from 1200-1400," Claggett said.

    He said the remains pointed to the existence of a Native American village on the north of Church Island.

    "The Indians went to the sound and creek areas for food. There were a lot of oyster shells in the grave area," he said.

    Claggett said state archaeologists will consult contemporary Native Americans before they study the remains, which would ultimately be returned to the descendents of the indigenous people.

    The construction site on Church Island is about 10 miles away from a more well known Native American burial site, the Baum site in Poplar Branch.

    Last year County Historian Barbara Snowden raised concerns about a 106-lot subdivision, Currituck Crossing, which was proposed near the Baum site.

    The Board of Commissioners allowed the development to proceed after the developers, Cox LLC of Vienna, Va., agreed to work closely with an archaeologist in accordance with a plan created by the Office of State Archaeology.

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