Preface to CD-ROM Edition

Welcome to Excavating Occaneechi Town, an archaeological site report on CD-ROM. This report describes and interprets the buried remains of Occaneechi Town, a small but important village of the Occaneechi tribe that stood on the banks of the Eno River in North Carolina at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Also known as the Fredricks site, this village was excavated by archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in order to study how European colonization of North America affected Native Americans.

Excavating Occaneechi Town is unique, not just because it is an electronic publication but because it contains a wealth of visual and descriptive information not usually available in an archaeological site report. In fact, it is a complete, fully searchable record of all the excavated contexts and recovered artifacts from Occaneechi Town. In addition to describing the archaeology of the site and interpreting what was found, this report contains over 1,000 full-color photographs and maps, and detailed information for over 100,000 analyzed artifacts. The report also contains an archaeological teaching tool, called the Electronic Dig, which allows students to design their own research strategies and re-excavate Occaneechi Town.

This report contains numerous hyperlinks, which are highlighted in blue. Each hyperlink (invoked by clicking the text with your mouse) will take you to another section of the report with more specific and related information, or it will create a new window containing either a map, photograph, or table. You can also navigate through the report using the menu bar at the top of the page.

A Note on Sources

The articles and descriptions herein were adapted mostly from research reports previously published and copyrighted by the Research Laboratories of Archaeology. The original sources(s) of each article are listed at the end of the article itself. The sources of the feature, burial, and structure descriptions that appear in the Excavations chapter and the Electronic Dig are as follows: Features 2-7 (Ward 1987:81-110); Features 9-13 (Petherick 1987:29-80); Features 14-30 (Ward 1986:15-41); Feature 31 (Ward and Davis 1988:11-30); Features 32-41 (Ward 1986:15-41); Features 42-59 and 61 (Ward and Davis 1988:11-30); Burials 1-9 (Ward 1987:81-110); Burials 10-11 (Ward 1986:15-41); Burial 12 (Ward and Davis 1988:11-30); Burial 13 (Ward 1986:15-41); Burial 14 (Ward and Davis 1988:11-30); Structures 1-3 (Petherick 1987:29-80); Structures 4-9 (Ward 1986:15-41); Structures 10-13 (Ward and Davis 1988:11-30). Descriptions for Feature 1, Feature 8, and Feature 60 (Burial 27), by R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr., have not previously appeared elsewhere.

All human skeletal remains were initially examined by Homes Hogue Wilson. Her very detailed descriptions of these remains are not presented here. For more information about this aspect of the site's archaeology, the reader should consult her works published elsewhere (Wilson 1986, 1987). Subsequently, in 1995, the human skeletal remains were re-examined by Patricia M. Lambert (Davis et al. 1996); these most recent age and sex determinations are the ones used herein. In most instances, they vary only slightly from the determinations made earlier by Wilson.


Archaeological investigations at the Fredricks site, known in the eighteenth century as Occaneechi Town, were conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Research Laboratories of Archaeology (formerly Research Laboratories of Anthropology) from 1983 to 1986 and again in 1995. This field research was made possible by grants from the National Geographic Society, as well as institutional support from the Summer School and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Without this support, the archaeological finds described herein would never have come to light. We also are indebted to Frank Frederick, Cyrus Hogue, and Richard Jenrette, who allowed us to dig on their land, and to the dozens of UNC students who toiled under the hot summer sun as Occaneechi Town was gradually revealed.

Digging a site is one thing, creating an electronic description of the results is quite another. The impetus that started us down the latter road came from the IBM Corporation in the form of a gift: a free multimedia computer to any UNC department that could think of a good use for it! Under the umbrella of a broader program called Documenting the American South, we submitted a proposal to produce an electronic archive on Occaneechi Town and were awarded a computer. The year was 1993. By today's standards, the machine we got was slow and cranky. But it was good enough to get us going and served us well over the five years it took to produce this CD-ROM. We are grateful not only to IBM, but also to the individuals at UNC--Katherine Conway, Nancy Dooly, and Kathy Thomas--who administered this gift and helped us put it to good use.

The computer, however, was only one piece of the puzzle. Creating this electronic archive required all sorts of additional hardware: a scanner, a digital camera, a CD-ROM mastering unit, various printers, and lots of large hard disks! UNCs College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Information Technology (now called Academic Technologies and Networks), and Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research all provided funds with which this equipment was acquired. Key corporate support also came from Roche Image Analysis Systems, whose generous terms helped us purchase the necessary digital camera. Special thanks go to Geoff Feiss, Linda Spremulli, and Anne Parker of UNC and Ernie Knesel of Roche Image Analysis Systems, who made these arrangements possible.

Making this hardware work was not always easy. We were fortunate, therefore, to be able to call on many individuals who provided us with first-rate technical help and consistently good advice. Among these were Dineane Buttram, Andy Brawn, Helen Cronenberger, Lee Howe, Phil Kaufman, Richard Milward, Ernie Patterson, Pam Sessoms, and Doug Short.

Our video clips presented some special problems. We are grateful to Ron Kemp and Donna Barnes of North Carolina State University for supplying the original video footage, and to Andy Brawn and Phil Meyer of UNC for helping us edit and convert this footage to a format suitable for this medium.

Once the prototype began to take shape (it evolved through at least six beta versions), we showed it to innumerable people--professional archaeologists and amateurs, hackers and cyberphobes, old friends and innocent bystanders--who gave us encouragement and many fine suggestions for improvement. In this regard we are especially grateful to Mark Aldenderfer, Mitch Allen, Bill Baden, Keith Kintigh, Bruce Smith, and several anonymous reviewers, who kept us on the right track.

As the process of development moved forward, we eventually began to work with the staff at the University of North Carolina Press, who consistently impressed us with their extraordinary talents (as well as their patience and good cheer). David Perry, Marjorie Fowler, Shelley Gruendler, Katie Haywood, Beth Snowberger, Pam Upton, and David VanHook were all instrumental in bringing this unusual work to press, and their efforts are much appreciated.

Finally, we would like to express our thanks to the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, whose past is documented herein. We greatly value their unfailing interest in, and support for, our work and hope that this publication brings that past to the wider audience it deserves.

R.P.S.D., P.C.L., H.T.W., V.P.S.
December 14, 1997