Topography and Territoriality in the Virginia Uplands

Author(s): Carole Nash

Year: 2016


The western slopes of the Virginia Blue Ridge contain limited evidence of prehistoric activity, in stark contrast to the eastern slopes where prolific sites model seasonal upland mobility patterns for the southern Middle Atlantic. Fewer than 80 prehistoric sites, the majority identified as small lithic scatters bereft of diagnostics, are documented for the 105 miles of the western slopes of Shenandoah National Park; five times that number are documented for the eastern slopes. Attributed by some researchers to differences in topography and edaphic factors, the lack of western sites is contrasted with a rich regional archaeological record that demonstrates the regular movement of tool stone in the form of quartzite and chert from the Shenandoah Valley in the west across the Blue Ridge and eastward into the Piedmont. This presentation examines the distribution of known western Blue Ridge sites, including quarry sites used throughout prehistory, and proposes a more structured use of this region by mobile foragers, beginning in the Late Archaic. Hypotheses concerning the control of quarries and the regions around them by groups with attenuated mobility patterns are presented.

Cite this Record

Topography and Territoriality in the Virginia Uplands. Carole Nash. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404263)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -84.067; min lat: 36.031 ; max long: -72.026; max lat: 43.325 ;