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1-540-373-2500 Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Society Grants Continue Archeological Work in Colonial Sites Along the Rappahannock River

Both the General Society and our Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Virginia have recently made grants in support of work led by Dr. Julia King of St. Mary’s College of Maryland for archaeological explorations of colonial era sites along the Rappahannock River.

“Dr. King’s extensive research along the river’s shore shows the presence of both native American settlements, colonists’ farms and trading sites that prospered around the early European colonial settlement of Virginia,” Governor Mitchell commented.

The Society grants supported the inclusion in the archaeological dig of four Mary Washington University graduate students.

“The students learned different methods of data collection (shovel tests, excavation units), how to record soil descriptions, and identifying artifacts in the screens as they work,” said Dr. King.
“We have recovered dozens of Indian pottery fragments, nails, and a gunflint fashioned from English flint,” she explained.

Among the locations that Dr. King investigates is the farm of Edward “Indian Ned” Gunstocker, a Christianized Nanzatico man who was involved in the gun trade between England and Native tribes in the interior. Accounts from the period report that Gunstocker joined the Nathanial Bacon-led colonists’ uprising in 1676 against the English governor of the state that became known as Bacon’s Rebellion. What made Gunstocker’s participation somewhat remarkable is that one of several motivations for the armed dispute was Governor William Berkeley’s refusal to act against native Americans in the area. In addition to farmers and plantation owners, other participants in Bacon’s force were enslaved blacks and indentured servants, all aggrieved by oppressive laws, taxes, voting restrictions and social enmity.

Photos below of Dr. King and her student and faculty team at a dig on the Rappahannock and Treasurer Russell Lawson presenting the grant check.

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