Algonkian of Coastal Carolina


(Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum)


When English explorers and colonists first arrived on the coast of North America, they encountered Algonkian-speaking peoples. The term Algonkian* isn�t a tribal name; but one of the largest group of linguistically related tribes in North America. Algonkian-speaking tribes lived in the area from coastal North Carolina to Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. They were the peoples who met the English at Roanoke in 1584, at Jamestown in 1607, and at Plymouth in 1620, and they were among those who first met French explorers and colonizers in Canada. (*Also spelled Algonquin, Algonquian, Algonkin.)

The Algonkian, with whom we are concerned here, were relative newcomers to coastal North Carolina, having come in a series of migrations from the north. To some extent they retained cultural elements from their Northeastern Algonkian traditions, but there was also cultural borrowing from their neighbors as they adapted to the geographic and climatic conditions of the area. They were more water-oriented and placed more emphasis upon hunting, fishing, and gathering than did their neighbors. They lived in the coastal area of North Carolina from the Neuse River northward to the Chesapeake Bay. To the north they were bordered by the Virginia Algonkians; on the northwest and west by the Iroquoian-speaking tribes of the Tuscarora, Meherrin and Nottaway; and on the southwest by the Woccon and other Siouan-speaking tribes. The approximate 6000-square mile Carolina Algonqkian territory of northeastern North Carolina included the Chowanoke, Weapemeac, Poteskeet, Moratoc, Roanoke, Secotan, Pomuik, Neusiok, Croatan and possibly the Chesepiooc.

On this web site will be posted source materials by anthropologists, archaeologists and historians which deal with the Carolina Algonkian, and links to related sources already online. As the reader will note, the various authors offer different points of views on some issues. It will be up to the reader to discern these differences. I only wish to make these materials available to one and all.

!!! Please visit the Archaeological Resources Protection Web Sites !!!

Anyone aware of other source materials, new publications, or any field work being conducted concerning the Carolina Algonkian, please let me know. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Please contact me at: [email protected]. John McGowan. Last Updated: March 6, 2005.

(Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum)

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Algonkian Sources

"Remnants of the Machapunga Indians of North Carolina," by Frank G. Speck, American Anthropologist 18 (1916): pp. 271-276.

"The Ethnic Position of the Southeastern Algonquian," by Frank G. Speck. American Anthropologist 26; (1924): 184-200.

"Algonquian Ethnohistory of the Carolina Sound," by Maurice A. Mook, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 34: 6�7 (1944) .

"Decline of the Coastal Tribes," Chapter IV, in The American Indian in North Carolina by Rev. Douglas L. Rights, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, (1947). Republished: Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1957.

The Archaeology of Coastal North Carolina, by William G. Haag. Louisiana State University Studies, Coastal Studies Series No. 2. (1958), Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge.

"The Mattamuskeet Documents: A Study in Social History," by Patrick H. Garrow, Archaeology Branch, Division of Archives and History, (1975), Raleigh, North Carolina.

"North Carolina Algonquians," by Christian F. Feest, in Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15, pp. 271-281, Bruce Trigger, Ed., (1978), Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC.

"Archaeological Salvage Of An Ossuary At The Baum Site", by David S. Phelps, (1980). Archaeology Laboratory. Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. East Carolina University. Greenville.

"Archaeology of the Tillett Site: The First Fishing Community at Wanchese, Roanoke Island", by David S. Phelps, (1984). Archaeological Research Report No. 6, Archaeology Laboratory, East Carolina University, Greenville.

"Archaeology of the Native Americans: The Carolina Algonkians: Final Report", by David S. Phelps, (1984), Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Economics, East Carolina University, Greenville.

"The Carolina Algonkians: Archaeology and History"; From: An America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Slide and Narrative Presentation, by David S. Phelps, (1984), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

The Amity Site Reports (1985-1989)

"The Archaeology of 31HY43, "Pomeiooc" 1985-1986 Field Seasons", by Paul R. Green. (1987), America�s Four Hundreth Anniversary Publication, Archaeology Laboratory, East Carolina University, Greenville.

"Excavations at the Amity Site: Final Report of the Pomeiooc Project: 1984�1989", by Paul S. Gardner, (1990), Archaeological Research Report No. 7, East Carolina University, Greenville.

"Ancient Pots and Dugout Canoes: Indian Life as Revealed by Archaeology at Lake Phelps," by David S. Phelps, (1989). Brochure distributed at Pettigrew State Park, Creswell, NC.

A Sub-Surface Radar Exploration of Lake Phelps, North Carolina, September, 1992; (1993), by Donald G. Shomette. Report prepared for The North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

"Mortuary Processes at the Broad Reach Site" by Mark A. Mathis, Office of State Archaeology,
Archaeology and Historic Preservation Section, NC Division of Archives and History (1993/1999).

"Unearthing Clues to Lost Worlds: An archaeological dig on the Outer Banks... reveals evidence of the Croatan Indians..." by Nancy Gray, (1997). The ECU Report - Vol. 28, No. 2. ECU, Greenville, NC.

"Between 'Savage Man' and 'Most Faithful Englishman': Manteo and the Early Anglo-Indian Exchange, 1584-1590" by Michael L. Oberg, Volume XXIV (2000) Number 2. Itinerario, European Journal of Overseas History, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Links to Primary Sources

Voyage of Giovanni do Varrazzano (1524), from The European Discovery of America. The Northern Voyages. A.D. 500-1600 by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York: Oxford University Press (1971).

The 1524 Voyage of Giovanni da Verrazano. [Adapted from a translation by Susan Tarrow of the Cellere Codex, in Lawrence C. Wroth, ed., The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524-1528 (Yale, 1970), pp. 133-143]

Discourse of Western Planting, Written In the yere (1584) by Richarde Hackluyt of Oxforde at the requeste and direction of the righte worshipfull Mr. Walter Raghly [Raieigh] nowe Knight.

First Voyage To Virginia, by Arthur Barlowe (1584), co-captained the earliest voyage outfitted by Sir Walter Raleigh to North America. From Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Voyages, Traffiques, and Discourses of the English Nations (1600).

The Colony at Roanoke, by Ralph Lane, (1586); Account (abridged version) of the 1585-86 attempt at colonizing the New World . From Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Voyages, Traffiques, and Discourses of the English Nations (1600).

Return To Ronoake, John White (1590); John White's description of his return to Roanoke Island. From Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Voyages, Traffiques, and Discourses of the English Nations (1600).

A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, by Thomas Hariot, (1590), London. An Archive Edition by Melissa S. Kennedy, University of Virginia, 1996, with the etchings of Theodore De Bry.

The First Book of Earlier English Voyages to Virginia, Compiled by Captain John Smith, (1622). How Ancient Authors Report the New World, Now called America, was Discovered: and part thereof first Planted by the English, called Virginia.

Travels in Virginia and North Carolina, George Fox, (1672). Discusses meeting with the Indians in the Albemarle area.

A New Voyage to Carolina, by John Lawson, (1709), (Project Gutenberg Etext)

John Lawson's Trek (300th Anniversary Web Site)

The English in Virginia, from The Making of Virginia and the Middle Colonies by Samuel Adams Drake (1893)

The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton; Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145, (1953); Smithsonian Institution; North Carolina (Partial), Virginia (Partial).

Engravings from The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, by Captain John Smith. London: Michael Sparks, (1624), Rare Book Division, Library of Congress.

Virtual Jamestown: an excellent web site with many primary sources, including John White Drawings and Theodor De Bry Engravings.

Other Links

John White Drawings ~ Theodore De Bry Engravings

The British Museum

Close Encounters of the First Kind, 1585-1767 (Maryland State Archives)

John White Drawings / Theodor De Bry Engravings (Virtual Jamestown)

The American Drawings of John White, 1577-1590 (George Mason University)

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (Engravings by De Bry)

Theodore DeBry Copper Plate Engravings (Cal State, Long Beach)

Theodore De Bry's Engravings (George Howard)

Town of Secotan Image / Text (New York Public Library)

The Town of Pomeiock (Hyde Co., NCGenWeb)

De Bry's Grand Voyages, Part I (1590) (Cosmography)

The Roanoke Colony of "Virginia" from De Bry's Grand Voyages

Engravings from The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, by Captain John Smith.

Native American Links

North Carolina's First Colonists: 12,000 Years Before Roanoke (NC State Archives)

The Prehistory of North Carolina: A Basic Cultural Sequence (NC State Archives)

Intrigue of the Past: North Carolina's First Peoples (University of North Carolina)

Archaeology and Ancient History of North Carolina (University of North Carolina)

Native Americans and Settlers (ECU) (Mattamuskeet Field Station for Coastal Studies)

The Tuscarora Wars (State Library of North Carolina) 

Historic Bath � North Carolina's First Town (NC Historic Sites)

The Tuscarora War, 1711-1715: The Indians Retaliate (Bath State Historic Site)

The Algonkins (First Nations Histories)

The Algonquin Indian Tribe (Tribal Histories)

Virginia Indians: The Powhatans (on the Algonquins of eastern Virginia.)

Cittie of Ralegh - Capital of America (Virginia Beach, VA)

Weapemock Indians (of the Albemarle area of North Carolina)

Frisco Native American Museum

Town Creek Indian Mound

North Carolina Archaeology

North Carolina Archaeology on the Web

North Carolina Archaeological Resources Protection

North Carolina Division of Archives and History

Outer Banks History Center

North Carolina Maritime Museum

North Carolina Historical Preservation Office

North Carolina Museum of History

Phelps Archaeology Laboratory, East Carolina University

The Southern Coastal Heritage Program

Research Laboratories of Archaeology, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Wake Forest Univ. Archeology Laboratories

NC DOT Archaeology Division

Mattamuskeet Field Station For Coastal Studies

Buxton Dig Finds Possible Lost Colony Link See Also: Photos Page
Dig! The Croatan Project
Excavation at Croatan
The Search For Croatan by David S. Phelps

The Baum Site, Currituck Co., NC (1972)

Cape Island, Onslow Co., NC (1996)

Digging the Weapemeocs

Phelps Lake Canoes, Washington Co., NC (1992)

The Shelly Point Site, Carteret Co., NC (1993)

The Rhodes Site, Bertie Co., NC (1982)

The Uniflite Site, Onslow Co., NC (1977)

Prehistoric Fishweirs in Eastern North America

[TEXT] The Quiyoughcohannock Ossuary Ritual And The Feast Of TheDead [PDF]

Roanoke Colony Links

First English Settlement in the New World (State Library of North Carolina) 

Roanoke Colonies Research Office (East Carolina University)

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (National Park Service)
Roanoke Revisited: (National Park Service)
See Also: Cultures In Conflict and Women in the 1587 Lost Colony

The Credit of Truth: Thomas Hariot and the Defence of Ralegh

North Carolina's Lost Colonists and Roanoke Links

The First Settlement of Roanoke (from Kids Info)

European Contact and Indian Depopulation: The Timing of the First Epidemics

Role of Drought in Disappearance of the Lost Colony
Drought May Have Doomed the Lost Colony
Drought Played Major Role in Jamestown, �Lost Colony� Tragedies

Early Maps of Coastal Carolina

Sketch-map of Raleigh's Virginia, 1585

John White's Maps of 1585

John White - Theodore De Bry Map of 1590

The Arrival of the English in Virginia, 1590

John Smith Map of Virginia, 1624

Cloppenburg Map of 1630
Mercator-Hondius Atlas (French Edition)

A New and Correct Map of the Province
of North Carolina, 1733, by Edward Moseley

The Price - Strother Map of 1808:
The Mattamuskeet Reservation

The Algonquin in North Carolina (Mook)

Eastern Virginia & North Carolina (Speck)

Carolina Algonquin Tribes and Villages (Feest)



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