The Archaeology of North Carolina

North Carolina Archaeological Time

The Contact Period in North Carolina

OVERVIEW || COAST || CENTRAL PIEDMONT || NORTH CENTRAL PIEDMONT || MOUNTAINS
North Carolina Contact period sites
Map of North Carolina showing Contact period sites, proposed routes of Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo through the western part of the state, and the trading path from Virginia.

The time of contact between Indians living in North Carolina and Europeans arriving from Spain and England varied considerably across the state. The expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through western North Carolina in the spring of 1540. Pardo's expeditions into the same areas came less than 30 years later. The first English attempts at settlement in northeastern North Carolina came about 20 years after that, starting in 1584. But it was not until after about 1650, when English explorers, traders, and settlers came from Tidewater Virginia, that North Carolina's Indians felt the brunt of the European presence on their land.

Accordingly, the beginnings of these arrivals do not necessarily herald the beginnings of significant changes in the histories of North Carolina's tribes. Overall, however, this was a time of sweeping and often devastating change.

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