"The Brookneal Landing Site, Campbell County, Virginia" by Howard A. MacCord and Mrs. R. Douglass Williams, Jr.
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THE BROOKNEAL LANDING SITE, CAMPBELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA Howard A. MacCord and Mrs. R. Douglass Williams, Jr. The site (44 Ca 2) lies on a sandy ridge which parallels the left bank of the Staunton River, immediately east of its crossing by US highway 501, at the southern edge of the town of Brookneal. Construction of a boat ramp and parking area by the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries Commission in 1961 destroyed part of the site. This construction work led the junior author to the site, where she salvaged pottery fragments, projectile points, and steatite potsherds from the exposed earth outs of the construction project. The site is owned by the town of Brookneal, which constructed a sewage lagoon in low ground just east of the site. A few points and potsherds were exposed in this latter construction, showing that traces of Indian occupancy were widely distributed over the river low-grounds. In 1965, plans were made to construct a radio transmitter and related facilities on the site, using the area between the sewage lagoon and the boat ramp parking area. Since the proposed construction would damage the site further, Mrs. Williams sought help from the Archaeological Society of Virginia in excavating the site be-fore construction began. Accordingly, members of the newly-organized Weyanoke Chapter, and other members in south-central Virginia were asked to help in the work. Plans were made to test the site with a two-day digging project over the weekend of May 15 and 16, 1965. On may 13, the authors mapped the site and placed stakes to mark a grid system covering the area to be excavated. (See Figure 1). On the 15th, approximately thirty members of the Society dug twenty five-foot squares to a depth of three feet, finding Features 1 through 4. On the 16th, about twenty members dug eleven squares and found Feature 5. Members desiring to dig were assigned squares , instructed as to techniques of digging, and were alerted as to what objects or features to expect. Each square was dug in levels as follows: Level 1 was a 12 thick layer of yellow sand deposited over the site in modern flooding. Below this was about 20 of black sand verging into brown sand at a depth of about 32 from the surface. This layer was divided into four five-inch strata, and materials found in each arbitrary level were kept separate pending study. A sixth level, from 32 to 37 deep was dug to ensure that sterile soil had been reached. In most squares, nothing was found below or in Level 6. One square (Sq. 11, Sect. 3E) was dug to a depth of five feet in search of traces of human activity, which might possibly occur at the deeper levels. In this instance, nothing which might appear to be of human origin was found below the 36 level. Accordingly, the remaining trenches and test squares were, with few exceptions, excavated to this level only. Features: In the 775 square-foot area dug, five features were recorded. No postmolds were noted, though the excavators were alerted to watch for such stains in the sand. The five features found were: Feature 1 was a circular pit, 36 in diameter, found divided between square 2 of Section 3D and square 92 of Section 3D. The pit was noted at a depth of 18 and was a lens-like deposit of midden and somewhat blacker soil than its matrix. The entire feature was cleared, and the following materials found: Sand-tempered pottery, plain 1 " " " , cord-marked 59 Charcoal flecks (not collected) many Feature 2 was a roughly-circular pit, 48' by 46' across, located completely in Square 81 of Section 3D. The pit was recognized at a depth of 24" from the surface, in level 4. The pit fill was black sand containing seven potsherds only. The shape of the lower part of the pit was a gentle curve, with a maximum depth of 10" below the line at which the pit was noted, or a total depth from the surface of 34". The pottery found was sand tempered, and six of the sherds were cord-marked and the other fabric-impressed. Feature 3 was a roughly circular pit, measuring 35" by 34" across. It was found at a depth of twenty inches from the surface, in Level 3. The pit was mainly in Square 32. The features was lens-like in cross-section, with a thickness of ten inches. The fill of the feature was black sand, containing a few traces of badly-rotted deer bones, some charcoal, one triangular projectile point of chert (Holland's Type A), and many pottery fragments. The pottery is unusual in that it is largely tempered with crushed quartz, as opposed to the more common sand tempering at this site. The following list shows the pottery types: Surface Sand temper Crushed Rock Temper Totals Cord-marked 34 34 Fabric-impressed 1 39 40 1 73 74 52