The Archaeology of North Carolina

North Carolina Archaeological Time

The Contact Period in North Carolina


The Contact Period in the North-Central Piedmont

The Middle Saratown phase (A.D. 1620 - 1670)

The Middle Saratown phase represents the mid-17th-century occupation of the upper Dan River drainage by the Sara, or Saura, Indians. This phase was defined by excavations at the Lower Saratown site located along the Dan River. The site marks the arrival of European trade goods in the northern Piedmont, but little else seems to change..

Prior to 1670 the Sara were well-insulated from the Europeans. It is doubtful that many of the Sara during the Middle Saratown phase ever laid eyes on the English or felt the deadly sting of their diseases. The beads and trinkets that found their way to the Sara villages were passed along from Indian to Indian through traditional trade networks.

Settlement patterns during Middle Saratown changed little from the preceding Early Saratown phase. The Sara continued to occupy large stockaded villages and populations were stable. No European influences are seen in settlement, subsistence, and technology. All this changed in the subsequent Late Saratown phase.

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