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combs carved from antlers, found at Bowman Mound near Linville (Rockingham County) Source: National Park Service, Rock Creek Park: Prehistoric Landscapes of the Nation's Capital Pottery developed initially in the southeast, between northern Florida-North Carolina (perhaps initially near Stallings Island on the Savannah River), before it appeared in Virginia.
The earliest forms of pottery in Virginia showed a transition from the older soapstone bowls.
Rapid changes may reflect immigration of a new group of people after conquering territory and displacing the previous residents.
Another possibility is that the residents were the conquerors, and brought back captives who introduced new technology such as making pottery with a different material used for "temper." Slow changes, with the speed of change interpreted by the age of artifacts recovered by archeologists, may reflect diffusion of culture during long periods of trading and intermarriage. Through archeology, we know they preferred the same locations as later emigrants from Europe - river bottoms where crops could be grown on flat, fertile ground.
Clay pots were fragile, not suitable for carrying on long hunting expeditions.The Bushnell Ware and Marcey Creek Ware forms of pottery, dating back to 1000BC, included ground-up bits of soapstone in the clay as a "temper" to minimize the cracking of pottery as clay was heated in a fire.Later forms of pottery used ground-up mussel/oyster shells or sand as a temper, eliminating reliance upon access to soapstone quarries.That shift in Native American culture is defined today by archeologists as the shift from Paleo-Indian to Archaic.The shift from Archaic to Woodland is also defined by new technology and new patterns of behavior.On hot summer days, it would have been exhausting work to zig-zag up narrow steps carved into the sides of the growing artificial mountain, dump a basket where directed by a prehistoric engineer, and then return for another load.At the top of the mound was a unique and powerful vista enjoyed by just a few people.Groups of people began to occupy houses in one location for a longer part of the year - presumably between the time crops were planted and harvested.People on more-sedentary communities began to use pottery.Archaeologists distinguish the Woodland period from the preceding Archaic period by .The switch from hunting with a spear (including those thrown with an atl-atl) to hunting with a bow and arrow came in the middle of the Woodland Period.