The Archaeology of North Carolina

North Carolina Archaeological Time

The Woodland and Mississippian Periods in North Carolina

Coastal Woodland || Piedmont Tradition Early/Middle Woodland   ||  Piedmont Tradition Late Woodland   ||  Southern Piedmont Late Woodland  ||  Appalachian Summit Woodland   ||  South Appalachian Mississippian

The Woodland Period on the Coast and Coastal Plain

Late Woodland (A.D. 800 - 1650)

Cashie phase

At the time of European contact, the northern region of the inner Coastal Plain was the home of the Iroquois-speaking Tuscarora. Their immediate neighbors to the north in Virginia were their relatives, the Meherrin and Nottoway tribes. The Late Woodland period in the Tuscarora homeland is known as the Cashie phase.

Ceramics of the Cashie phase have fabric-impressed, simple stamped, and plain surface finishes, with incised lines, punctations, and finger pinching decorations around the vessel rims. The most distinguishing feature of Cashie pottery is the pebble-tempered paste. Radiocarbon dates place this phase between A.D. 673 and A.D. 1444.

Much of what is known of the Cashie phase is from work at the Jordan's Landing site on the bank of the Roanoke River in Bertie County. Numerous pit features, hearths, and burials were excavated at Jordan's Landing.

The Cashie phase has a mixed subsistence economy based on agriculture, hunting, gathering, and fishing. Corn, beans, and probably other crops were harvested. Although the Tuscaroras later abandoned their villages during the winters to pursue the European deerskin trade, the pre-contact Tuscarora at Jordan's Landing appear to have occupied village year-round.

Cashie phase ossuaries are different from the Algonkian ossuaries in that they typically contain remains of only two to five individuals. Marginella beads are commonly found in these burials.

©2010 UNC-RLA