By Helen C. Rountree
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Extra info for Before and After Jamestown: Virginia's Powhatans and Their Predecessors
Authentic Late Woodland–Early Contact period palisades in Virginia consisted of upright sapling-stakes set into the ground a few inches apart, as John White indicates. It is lines of postmolds like these that archaeologists find at palisaded sites (fig. 12). 4 is unfinished (perhaps White had his artistic reasons). The second phase of building may have been to weave durable, densely-leaved boughs around the stakes; the red cedar used in modern duck-hunting blinds is excellent for that purpose. Virginia Algonquian men knew that all they had to do was to prevent enemy Indian sharpshooters from seeing in and taking aim.
The metal was pure copper, of a reddish color, and so soft that it could be used only for jewelry. 11, which were found in one of the burials at the Paspahegh town described in chapter 2; these tubes are now reburied along with the bones of their owner. Shell beads and larger shells made into pendants were also highly valued by the Virginia Algonquians. The shell for these came from salt water: whelk (“conch”) shells for the long tubular white beads and the large whitish slabs made into pendants, and the shells of quahogs (hard clams) for white or dark blue disk beads.
Ceramics for much of the period were uniform throughout the Virginia coastal plain: the standard pottery types were Townsend shell-tempered wares with incised and/or fabric-impressed surface decoration (fig. 8). Virginia Indian pottery was not glazed or painted until the twentieth century, so Late Woodland pieces are more functional than decorative. The pots made were often large stewpots, with conical bottoms that could be pressed down into the coals of a lowburning open fire. Late Woodland projectile points were triangular, coming in various sizes (fig.