Watery Indian site explored in Hyde
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In Hyde County, an archaeological search has started for Algonkian villages noted after European exploration in 1585.
Early on April, 19 Hyde volunteers, archaeology students and East Carolina University professors explored one possible site. Planning is underway for a summertime survey of other sites that may be Aqascococke, Secota or Tramaskecooc.
The April search crew, directed by East Carolina visiting professor Dr. Jane Eastman, set up the day camp on a shell midden, close by Pamlico Sound and not far out of Engelhard.
As outlined by Dr. Eastman to the crew, the basic survey involved shovel tests along a transect line. Hoped for results included the size of the site and depth of midden. Additionally, Dr. Eastman wanted to identify the stratigraphy of the area.
While one small party forged through poison ivy and undergrowth to run the first transect line and establish test sites, other crews shoveled and screened. Each shovel full of dirt and muck was placed on a screen, shaken back and forth or pushed through. Nothing came from the morning's work.
In the afternoon, two more transects were run, closer to the campsite midden. The day's last two holes told what several folks knew all along: the area was definitely an Algonkian village site.
These first surveyors dug up old, old evidence of Algonkian living. Specifically, the screening revealed evidence from the Middle Woodland archaeology period which runs from 300 B.C. to 800 A.D. The site's only problem is that no more evidence is accessible. It's under the current water table.
Hyde countians like Marco Gibbs and Al Schmidt know the site. Surface collecting of artifacts (no digging involved) has produced pottery evidence of Late Woodland era occupation of the site. That era is the "contact" period, the time when Algonkians met Europeans for the first time.
This new search for Algonkian villages in Hyde County relies on the historical record established by a 1585 expedition. Sir Richard Grenville, Ralph Lane, Thomas Hariot, John White and