Professor of Anthropology Julia King, Instructor of Anthropology Scott Strickland and SMCM students Caitlin Hall, Sarah Kifer and Danielle Harris-Burnett are featured in a July 25, 2020 Fredericksburg.com article focusing on their Rappahannock Tribe project called “Indigenous Borderlands of the Chesapeake.” The team is doing historical archaeology in Virginia to find spots where Native American villages existed along the Rappahannock River.
King and her crew have been working recently at a land tract above the Rappahannock River called Fones Cliffs. The site had been considered for development but was acquired instead in 2019 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Fones Cliffs has a rich cultural history, as well as important ecological habitat and a beautiful white cliff landscape.
The team of archaeologists has found clues of Native Americans at Fones Cliffs and King said the main objective will continue to be finding evidence of the three large villages that exist in both the Rappahannock Tribe’s oral histories and in Captain John Smith’s journals, describing his journey up the river in 1608. King notes that an earlier round of exploration on the Fones Cliffs site was funded by The Conservation Fund, while this year’s two weeks of digging and exploration were paid for by the refuge.