Topic: Cultural Periods

Muskogean Mound Builders

Along the North Fork of the Shenandoah are the fertile bottomlands that made the valley famous. Between Strasburg, Woodstock and New Market, VA the river snakes its way through rich alluvial soils. Here, there is archival and unstudied archaeological evidence that an advanced Native American culture once existed in the Shenandoah Valley. Because of the lack of archaeological studies of Mississippian type sites in the Shenandoah Valley, the discussion on this period must remain highly speculative. Native American platform mounds still exist in Virginia. They will be discussed within Part Four. It should be noted that the Shenandoah Valley is

Archaic Period

Archaic Period (7,000 BC – 1000 BC) The early part of this cultural period was characterized by warm, dry conditions. Sandy deserts existing in the coastal plain of the Carolinas, but probably, the landscape in the Shenandoah Valley would have been similar to that of eastern Colorado today. Ocean levels were continually rising because of melting glaciers and ice caps in the northern latitudes. By around 5000 BC, western Virginia’s climate was fairly close to what occurs today. After the concurrent die-off of many large mammals and warming of western Virginia, herds of three ruminant species, deer, bison and elk,

Woodland Period

Early Woodland Period (1000 BC – 200 BC) In the Mid-Atlantic region, the Early Woodland Period is believed to have been a continuation of Late Archaic traditions. Native peoples slowly became more sophisticated in adapting to their environment. Population slowly increased. There were steadily more trade contacts between regions. An important trade route connecting the North Georgia Mountains and Tennessee River Valley with the Potomac River Valley passed through the Shenandoah Valley. It intersected major east-west trade routes at Harpers Ferry, WV and Roanoke, VA, where the James River passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains. At least as early as

Paleo-Indian Period

Most of the Shenandoah Valley is part of the Ridge and Valley Province that extends from southeastern New York to northwest of Atlanta, GA. The eastern flank of the valley is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains that extend from eastern Pennsylvania to northern suburbs of Atlanta, GA. The Blue Ridge Mountains are composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The southern end of the Shenandoah Valley contains also igneous rock outcrops, known as “mow hills” that are the remnants of ancient volcanoes. Most of the valley is underlain by sedimentary or metamorphic rocks that were originally sedimentary. Early Paleo-Indian Period