Welcome to "Colonial Encounters: The Lower Potomac River Valley at Contact, 1500-1720 AD," a research project and
website developed by a consortium of researchers from a number of regional institutions.
The purpose of the Colonial Encounters project is to assemble, in one place and for the first time, archaeological
and documentary information from settlements throughout the lower Potomac River valley. The project, which was
generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, has served to create a baseline narrative of
early colonial life in the river valley.
The purpose of the website is to report project goals, data, and results for a broad public and professional
audience. We invite your interest and participation in this project and hope you find this website of
value for your own research.
What to Look For
This website contains detailed information on 34 archaeological sites in the lower Potomac River valley spanning
the period ca. 1500-1720. The sites represent a range of types and affiliations, including domestic, political,
and fortified sites occupied by both indigenous and settler households and communities. These settler
communities include Africans and Europeans.
For each archaeological site, you will find a discussion of the site's history and history of excavation, a
searchable artifact and context database, artifact and field images, maps, GIS files, transcribed historical
documents, and associated reports.
As you navigate this site, we invite you to consider our findings and interpretations and to use the databases
yourself to confirm or to challenge those interpretations. There are many questions which we will
not address as part of this project due to time and funding limitations; we hope others will use the
databases to explore these avenues and develop new questions. We include opportunities for you to
comment on this project and to help make this website even more useful to visitors.