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The Powhatan LandscapeAn Archaeological History of the Algonquian Chesapeake$
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Martin D. Gallivan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062860

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062860.001.0001

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The Place of the Antler Wearers

The Place of the Antler Wearers

(p.141) Chapter 6 The Place of the Antler Wearers
The Powhatan Landscape

Martin D. Gallivan

Victor D. Thompson

University Press of Florida

Chapter 6 addresses Werowocomoco’s archaeological and ethnohistorical records as well as the town’s role in the Virginia Algonquian spatial imaginary. Shortly after its establishment as a town circa A.D. 1200, Werowocomoco’s residents reconfigured the settlement’s spaces, constructing a residential area lining the river and an interior zone marked by a series of trenches. A biography of place and a close reading of colonial-era accounts suggest that Werowocomoco was reconfigured and redefined several times as a ritualized location. By the seventeenth century, Werowocomoco represented the center place of the Powhatan chiefdom and the scene of several consequential encounters with English colonists. The construction of monumental earthworks and chiefly architecture within Werowocomoco made reference to construction episodes dating centuries earlier, suggesting that Werowocomoco’s history of placemaking influenced Powhatan’s decision to move there during the sixteenth century. As a town that marked the transition from horticultural activities to hunting camps during the feasts and sacrifices of autumn, Werowocomoco also anchored the annual cycle.

Keywords:   Werowocomoco, chiefdom, monumentality, biography of place, spatial imaginary

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