Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Artifacts from along the Anacostia River in Washington, DC

I mentioned a while back that I have been involved in a project to go through old artifact collections from along the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. These are really old collections picked up mainly in the 1870s and 1880s. Most were surface finds. As this collection shows, back then you could fill a box in an afternoon without bothering to pick up any broken junk. These spear points probably date mainly to between 2000 and 1000 BCE.

Sherd from the neck of a pot made between 1200 and 1500 CE. This is what we call Potomac Creek pottery. This is a rather famous sherd because this is the one that Smithsonian archaeologist William Henry Holmes used to illustrate the type in the report where he gave it the name Potomac Creek,back in 1891.

Stone axes.

And more points. There is a ton of stuff (literally, I would guess) in the Smithsonian's collections from the Anacostia, but much of it is labeled only "Anacostia River," not enough to say where it actually came from. We focused only on collections that we could locate more precisely, and still there are thousands of artifacts like these.

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