2019: Woodie Site, North Carolina

2019: Woodie Site, North Carolina

Despite one of the rainiest Junes on record in northwestern North Carolina, the 2019 Appalachian State Archaeological Field School successfully completed the first season of the New River Headwaters Archaeological Project in Ashe County. Directed by Dr. Alice Wright and in collaboration with Dr. Colin Quinn and the Hamilton College Archaeological Field School, 14 Appalachian State students conducted shovel test survey, multiple types of geophysical survey, and test excavations at a series of sites known as the Woodie district. First identified nearly 60 years ago, these sites have produced artifacts from the Early Archaic through Late Woodland periods; our ongoing research at Woodie thus stands to illuminate long-term dynamics of settlement, society, and interaction with and beyond the High Country landscape. For example, excavations of a Late Woodland component of the Woodie district yielded a lithic assemblage characterized by considerable raw material variability, suggesting far-reaching procurement or exchange strategies. We also explored the possibility that the Woodie district is part of a ritual landscape or cosmography, as suggested by its association with a massive petroglyph known as Cranberry Rock. Students spent the season carefully cleaning, documenting, and photographing this cupule boulder, and on our last day of fieldwork (of course!), we discovered at least four more petroglyphs upstream of Cranberry Rock. We are grateful to the landowners and collaborators who made possible the 2019 field season, and look forward to continuing these investigations in the coming years.  

From the North Carolina Archaeological Society Newsletter, Volume 29, Number 3, by Alice Wright



Field school students shovel testing at 31AH38.


Hopper Rickard, Cara Pace, and Katelyn Badgett use a magnetic susceptibility field probe to non-invasively survey 31AH67.


From left to right: Lauren Stander, Rees Waugh, Xana Mills, Henry Norris, Logan Murrow, Maya Waver, and Lia Kitteringham at the base of the plowzone in test unit at the Woodie site.


Dr. Wright and 2019 field school students on a pier on the very high South Fork of the New River, adjacent to the Woodie Site.