Colonial Encounters

The Lower Potomac River Valley, 1500-1720 AD

A collaborative data source for scholars and students...

Alternately cast as the frontier, the edge of empire, or a node in the interrelated web of the Atlantic World, the Chesapeake region was home to diverse people whose experiences form a rich and complex story. This project focuses on the Potomac Valley and synthesizes the results of decades of research by archaeologists and historians on sites occupied by Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans. Through close attention to materiality—including buildings, landscapes, and portable objects ranging from the quotidian to the exotic—the project examines the complex cultural terrain that emerged in the region.

In the pages of this site you will find detailed summaries of over 30 sites, artifact and context databases, and images of important or unusual artifacts. All data, including the artifact databases, can be downloaded for the use of other scholars.

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About the Project

A multi-year and multi-institution collaboration standardizing and synthesizing archaeological data for important sites in the Potomac River Valley during the period 1500-1720.

Technical Data

How we gathered and organized the data, details about the databases, information for those who want to download and work with the data.

Browse the Sites

Browse the 34 archaeological sites included in the project. These site summaries include links to images, maps, GIS data, and artifact collections.

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