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Like just about everywhere else on Turtle Island, there were First Nations people here before there were Colonists. In our neighbourhood, the folks that you would have met probably would have spoken a language that falls under the umbrella of the Algonkian family. [1] That's like saying someone that visited Europe several thousand years ago probably would have met someone that spoke Latin. The people themselves could have been Portuguese or they could have been Italian. There were Confederacies inside of Confederacies with all of the accompanying politics you would expect in a modern setting.

We're super lucky! In 2007 a Clovis Point was found at the Freedmen's Cemetery. [2] Normal people call projectile points arrowheads. Bear in mind that there were different uses for each find: it *could* have been an arrowhead, but it could just as easily have been a spear point, an axe head, a leather scraper, or something else entirely. By the time an archaeologist picks up a point, the wood is usually long gone (though sometimes we get really lucky!), taking one of the clues as to its use away. Thankfully, the way the stone is fashioned still speaks through the years if enough of the point remains intact.

Unlike Northern Normanskill Points that are about 3,000 to 5,000 years olde [3], Clovis Points are much, much older at about 13,000 to 10,000 years olde. What's a few millennia between friends?

The two points look different, too. There's a flute carved into Clovis Points that allows them to be placed directly onto a shaft or haft. You won't find side notches on a Clovis Point. The fancy archaeological term for these jobbies is lanceolate. You can definitely see wee cut outs straight away on a Normanskill Point. Their fancy term is side notched. [4]

It's important to remember that there are still Native people in Alexandria. We aren't history. The American Indian Movement has a Virginia Chapter. Thanks to PBS there's a good article discussing the intricacies of ethnic terminology. I use American Indian.

References

  1. http://www.native-net.org/archive/nl/9505/0196.html
  2. https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=38880
  3. http://pages.vassar.edu/ursi-archaeology/2012/07/16/exciting-find-normanskill-point/
  4. http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/Maryland_Projectile_Points/AboutProjectilePoints/ProjectilePointTypology.html

External LinksEdit

Virginia's First People, Past and Present