Ancient Artifacts Found in Albemarle County

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Archaeologists recently made a potentially exciting discovery at an estate in Albemarle County. Buried artifacts found show that Native Americans possibly settled in the area 3,000 years ago on what's known now as Morven Farm. The University of Virginia Foundation owns Morven and last summer began phase one of the archaeological dig. The findings are giving researchers a better idea of who lived here a long time ago.

"We think this arrowhead is possibly over 2,000 years old," said Van Smith, Program and Development Manager at the University of Virginia Foundation.

An incomplete arrowhead chiseled by Indians and a shard from a piece of their pottery were among some of the artifacts found by archaeologists.

"It's fascinating to think that long before Columbus set sail this rock was in the ground and lost in the sands of time here at Morven," said Smith.

The University of Virginia Foundation commissioned an archaeological survey of the land after historical documents and accounts hinted Native Americans once settled at Morven. A team of archaeologists led by Steve Thompson from Rivanna Archaeological Services dug 2,000 test pits across 250 acres. The pits now filled in, were two feet square and extended down to the clay subsoil.

"It's possible there's more material below it, that this is a stratified site. That there are levels of earlier occupation below the level that we reached," said Steve Thompson.

The archaeologists also uncovered an ox shoe that was used by tenant farmers in the 18th century. Tenant farmers were considered the middle class at the time but very little is known about them.

"A class of people we know very little about from the historical record and even less about from the archaeological record though they certainly made up an enormous part of colonial society," said Thompson.

The findings will help researchers understand how the Indians and the tenant farmers lived, from what they ate to what they wore.

The University of Virginia Foundation hopes to begin phase two of this project where they will narrow in on specific sites on the property and do further archaeological digs.

Reported by Jennifer Von Reuter
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