Broaddus Flats
Assassquin Plantation
44Hn254
 


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"Artifactual Evidence"
page 7 of 7

Weapons

To date, the ground at 44Hn254 has given up several weapon parts and an ample supply of gun flints. Those in the know have identified these, by their size, as belonging to “fowling pieces” and pistols. All are of English gray flint. Gun parts are rare indeed but excavators have recovered an iron frissen to one of the homeowner’s fowling pieces. The condition of this artifact is quite amazing, considering its unfortunate location in the topsoil for so long; the small nipple at the top is intact. Only about a dozen large-caliber lead roundball have been found in the more than 4,000 cubic feet of topsoil sifted. However, small-caliber roundball have been found in abundance. Recently, three small roundball still attached to their sprue were sifted out. An iron bolt found in the “yard” of the house has been identified as almost certainly that which attached a fowling piece’s lockplate to the reverse side plate. Several years ago, the cellar / refuse pit yielded an iron sword pommel, of the style common on most 17th century rapiers.

Because of its location near the Pamunkey River, Broaddus Flats site has yielded many Native American weapons and tools, unearthed both in and out of colonial features. Good samples of several projectile point types, especially “Potts-eared,” have surfaced over the years. The author and his students even sifted out what may be the stone tools making up an entire tool “kit”—a quartzite, bi-faced “pebble tool,” two quartzite “shaft-cleaners” (bi-faced scrapers), and a well-made end scraper of a light brown material called weathering amber chalcedony. Both Col. Howard MacCord and Joe McAvoy of the Archeological Society of Virginia have said that this latter material may have been brought into this area of the county from the Bourne Quarry near Beaverdam, a distance of about 40 miles west. Both men also agreed that this tool is a typical style tool made by Native Americans living in Virginia ca. 9000 B.P.; in archaeological parlance, they are now called “Palmer” people. It is impossible to state conclusively that these tools all made up a Palmer tool kit. However, finding them all in such close proximity seems more than coincidental. What does seem coincidental is unearthing them in the topsoil overlying the posthole pattern for a late Woodland Period “long-house,” our only one of the entire dig. Excavation of several of these postholes has revealed a few shards of the pottery used by Native Americans during this “pre-contact” / “contact” period—Potomac Creek series, as it is known to archeologists today. When the topsoil is removed from the area once the “center” of the long-house, we will be searching carefully for the remains of any cooking or storage pits where archeologists often find broken vessels, food remains, etc.

Date posted: May 18, 2003

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