New Perspectives on Smith’s Map of the Chesapeake

Author(s): Scott M Strickland

Year: 2018


Archaeologists and historians have long used Captain John Smith’s 1612 map of the Chesapeake to interpret the native landscape at contact. From this map and the narrative of his 1608 voyages, inferences have been made about territories, population size, and settlement locations. Recent research mapping Indigenous Cultural Landscapes (ICLs) for the National Park Service has begun to re-envision the study of Smith’s map and highlight the limitations of its efficacy in drawing broad conclusions about the early and pre-contact landscape. Using the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers as examples, this paper seeks to underscore the physical limitations of Smith’s efforts to map the landscape and bring forth new perspectives and insights into the dynamic nature of native settlement and mobility during this period. The unique approach of the ICL mapping concept combines indigenous stakeholder consultation, GIS analysis, and critical dissemination of the historical record, bringing forth new interpretations of this important landscape.

Cite this Record

New Perspectives on Smith’s Map of the Chesapeake. Scott M Strickland. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441339)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 768