By Helen C. Rountree
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Additional resources for Before and After Jamestown: Virginia's Powhatans and Their Predecessors
As we shall see in chapter 3, even chiefs and their families had to work for their living. The most durable objects that Indian people made during the Late Woodland period were pottery, usually found in broken pieces, and stone Indian Life in the Late Woodland Period (ca. 1500) 23 projectile points. Ceramics for much of the period were uniform throughout the Virginia coastal plain: the standard pottery types were Townsend shell-tempered wares with incised and/or fabric-impressed surface decoration (fig.
10, onto a piece of antler to make a useful knife. This specimen, made of fine-grained chert and showing pressure flaking along the edges, comes Fig. 9. Late Woodland projectile points. Courtesy of VDHR. 24 Before and After Jamestown Fig. 10. Stone knife hafted onto an antler handle, from a site in western Virginia. Courtesy of VDHR. from the Shannon Site in western Virginia; no hafted knife has as yet been found by archaeologists in Virginia’s coastal plain, although they were undoubtedly used there.
There are also times when multiple adults of one or both sexes are needed just to get a necessary job done, for instance Powhatan house building, done by women (see chapter 3). For nonindustrial societies in which governments and/or religious organizations are not expected to provide many services, the family has always been the tried and true backup system. So it must have been for the Powhatans and their predecessors. Virginia Algonquian society was a kin-based society. That means that the family you are born into determines where you grow up, establishes your main friendships in childhood, trains you to be a competent adult of whatever sex, eliminates certain people from eligibility to marry you, pushes you towards marrying other people who would fit well within the entire group, provides you with working partners in various jobs including rearing the family’s (not just your own) children, makes various political alliances possible or impossible for you, protects you from being victimized by aggressive nonrelatives, forms local and sometimes supralocal groups to engage with you in religious worship, looks after you in sickness and old age, and assembles the personnel to bury you when you die from all the exertion.
Before and After Jamestown: Virginia's Powhatans and Their Predecessors by Helen C. Rountree