Trade Items as Transfer of Money
Written by Fred Willard, November, 2002
An independent study in Biology as a requirement for the East Carolina University Honors Program
combined with an Interdisciplinary Minor on the study of "The 1587 Lost Colony"
This paper is focused on the biological study of indigenous shellfish and plants and how these important food sources may have fit into the day-to-day lives of the Native Americans, who were found on the Coastal Plain of North Carolina at the English contact period (1584). This study is one part of a multidisciplinary project, for a Minor and an Honors-approved program.
This paper will attempt to analyze the foods and plant materials used by the Algonquian Indians to determine if a pattern of village location from these early times can be found relating the names of these villages to the plants and shellfish found near them. This is a very preliminary study of how shellfish were used as a food and bartering source. During an extensive research phase of this study it was found that the shellfish had a very important secondary function. Designated towns in each chiefdom or confederation were strategically located to manufacture and distribute Indian money (wampum). Many different types of plants, metals and animals were used by these Indians as trade goods, but none was more important than wampum, also called roanoke, peak, marginalia and minfel. This paper will attempt to document through historic research how the exchange system worked for these Coastal Indians. The identification of the shellfish, and other selected plants used for consumption and trade, will be a focus of this paper. The primary focus will be the manufacturing of wampum, and how it fit into the overall scheme of their cultural identity.Introduction
For the past four hundred years, the study of the coastal Croatan Indians has been linked to the famous “Lost Colony” of 1587. The main hypothesis underlying this research is that if you follow the migration trail of the Croatan Indians, you will find the 1587 “Lost Colony”. The research presented in this paper attempts to understand and locate some of these Croatan Indian villages.
The study of the Algonquian culture from this period to the late Eighteenth century must encompass a perspective of how these Indians fit into the landscape of their chosen territory. With this understanding, an element of the Native American culture stands out as a large and mostly untold story. This story imbues the understanding of how these Native American Indians “carved out a cultural niche” on the large sounds and rivers in the area of our study from Cape Fear in North Carolina to the Chesapeake Bay.
Although in a very early stage, this research draws upon some new and interesting concepts and disciplines (satellite imaging, biology and Indian linguistics) that may are being applied to this study of early Native Indian Village names. One component of locating the yield large rewards was the development of a Village location model, which was accomplished this past summer (see village model in the appendices). Another of the major components of this location study is what these village names mean. This was accomplished by attempting to find translations of these original village names (all of the translations used in this paper are from many sources but the most useful was Professor Paul Garies as edited by David Beers Quinn, 1955). It became apparent that, in almost every case, the meaning of the village name was nothing more than the name of the primary food source near the village or the name of the village function within the chiefdom or Indian confederation (Shepard/Willard 2002). This village name collection was also accomplished this summer and has arrived at the realization that the location identification always seems to be the last suffix of a compilation of word meanings. There were twenty-eight original villages in the study area from the 1585 map. This compilation was accomplished by synthesizing many variations in the spelling of the Indian names by the English (see map enclosed in addenda for the study area). The simple fact is that the English people sent over in the sixteenth century had difficulty with their own language. Even the learned gentry had writing and spelling problems. Sir Walter Raleigh himself, who was an accomplished author and poet, had many spelling anomalies in his recorded writings. He spelled his own name eight different ways in his own writings. An interesting side note is that the city of Raleigh in the state of North Carolina is presently spelled in a way that Sir Walter Raleigh was never known to use. This study will use spellings that are most similar, trying to take into account in some cases wide variations in the recorded spellings. This wide variance may hinder the ability to make this study meaningful. An in-depth analysis of these names was accomplished and is presented in the appendices.Background History Studies - Plants, Fauna and Indian Money
The Algonquian word roanoke is translated to mean: to rub, abrade, smooth or polish (as in making roanoke, peak or wampum beads: Quinn 1955). John Lawson defined the word roanoke as meaning money. Stefan Lorant believes the name is a corruption of the Indian word “Ohanoak” (see important Indian Village name related to survivors of the 1587 “Lost Colony”). Haag has suggested that the name was not related to the word wampum but meant “Northern people”. The overwhelming academic preponderance suggests that this word is analogous to money.
John Lawson also described how the roanoke was made. He indicated in his journal from 1709 that roanoke and copper, a trade item from the interior, were among the chief trade items of these Coastal Indians. Gorgets made from shell would fetch from three to four buckskins in exchange (Lawson: 204-205). The color of the bead shells was an important factor regarding the value of the wampum. If the length of beads was black or purple in color, then it was worth twice the value of white beads (Lawson: 205).
Grave goods or items of value buried with the deceased are not widely reported with the Indians of the coastal region but a few instances have been found. The Nanticoke Indians from Maryland’s Eastern Shore were found to place large amounts of shell money in their graves. A mound was excavated where many Indians were buried in one of their settlements. A great amount of roanoke and peak was found there (Letter from White. Maryland Fund Publication No. XXVII: 210-211).
The Nanticoke Indians were widely reported as being “money changers” or bankers of Indian shell money. They are reported as having subdued the Assateague and Delaware Indians from the coast, enslaving them and forcing them to manufacture shell money which was extremely time consuming to manufacture (Semmes 1937). In 1648, The Five Nations sent to Charles II gifts: “ ---the great sachem (Chief) Charles that lives on the other side of the great lake”. They wanted Charles II to grant them title to the lands bordering on the Susquehanna River, which they claimed by right of conquest recognized. They sent over to him two white dressed deer skins and a “Belt of Wampum peag” (peak) and to the Duke of York another small belt (or length) of shell beads (Semmes 1937: 807).
Wampum was “beads” made of shell. They were polished and strung together in belts or “sashes or lengths”. The length of the arm of the Indian who owned them determined the length of a belt of beads. A length was measured from the fingertip to the elbow, regardless of how large or small the Indian was (Semmes 1937). The earlier settlers of the coast, as far south as Virginia, attempted to imitate the Indian beads with a white porcelain wampum, which proved to be too costly to produce (Semmes 1937: 807).
Indian currency was called Rawrenoke (Roanoke) and was white beads that were traded as chains or lengths (arm lengths, Barbour 1969: Vol. II). Roanoke was the primary source of Indian trade shell beads from the contact period to the late Eighteenth Century.
Peak is the second most primary source of Indian money. Roanoke and peak are both made from the same conch shell as found all along the North American coast (for identification of this shell please see the list of scientific names in the appendices). The peak is always strung as separate belts or fathoms as it has twice the value of the totally white shell bead called roanoke. The dark portion of the Venus clam shell is usually found at the broad, top portion of the shell.
Marginalia is the most valuable shell bead money found in the coastal areas of North America. During the contact period, these Coastal Indians were living a life that was much more sophisticated than all of the contact period chroniclers reported. The chiefdoms and Indian confederations were very stratified and the chiefs held the right of instant life or death over their tribal members. Only the kings and queens were allowed to wear the marginalia beads. These beads have been found in burials that were only representative of the royal families.
The gifted historian David Beers Quinn describes small beads of smooth bone, shell or little beads as “minsal”(minfel), (Quinn 1955: 891,892). This ornament and bartering exchange has almost no reference in the literature and very little can be learned about it. One of the most stunning artifact finds at the Croatan Indian site was a set of bird bones that was probably made into a necklace (Phelps, David: Personal correspondence).
The most precious thing that the Indians have in the whole world is what they call Asurgny. It is white as any snow and they produce it by taking flesh of enemies and “cornibotz” it by placing it in a special stream that contains this “Asurgny”. From this they make beads that they wear around their neck (Burrage 1906). This account has some concerns as it is not mentioned anywhere else.
When the Maryland envoys made their way to the Iroquois they were told that they “might contact with any persons, merchants, traders or others for any sum or quantities of Zenwant, wampum, peak or other commodities which they also could use in the trading with the Indians" (Semmes 1937: 575).
The Spanish name for Indian bead money was Chaaquals. While on an exploration mission looking for the English settlement at Roanoke Island in 1588, Vincent Gonzalas went ashore in Chesapeake Bay at Scientists Cliffs and was met by some Indians who came down to the shore to parley. A chief man or sachem came to them and he had many strings of “Chaaquals” (beads) adorned around his neck (Quinn 1955: 807).
Names associated with Indian money come from many sources. From the Lenape (Coastal Indians from the area that is now Delaware), "They have not as yet given more then ten 'fathoms' of saven." This relates to lengths of beads strung in a length that will go around your fingertip to your elbow and back. [Semmes 1939: Captains (Indians) and Mariners of Maryland: 413].
It is reported that the fearsome Susquehanna Indians from the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay had an understanding with the Maryland colonists. Any hogs killed by the Indians would require them to pay fifty fathoms (or arm lengths) of peak and for any cow of any sort 100 fathoms of peak for satisfaction (Semmes 1937: 413).
From John Smith: …Their heads and shoulders painted red, with oil and Puccoon mingled together made an exceedingly handsome show (Wright, Louis B. 1965: 176). For as soon as they are born the babies are anointed by their mothers with a red dye which they are continually “besmeared either for the custom of the country or better to defend them from the stinging "mosquitoes". Captain John Smith: affirms that the children are from the womb indifferent white. And for which the mothers daily paint them on the face and body with a mixture of walnut oil and Puccoon, a root they find and pound into powder (Wright, Louis B. 1965: 216). This dye comes from a herb that the Indians call “Wasebur”. Also red dye comes from little small roots called “Chappacor and the bark of a tree called by the Indians “Tangomockonomindge” (Quinn 1982: 53,54). William Strachy: The King Powhatan keeps one mile from his village all his great treasure. He has a large house, with twenty of his best men guarding the same where he keeps his skins, copper, pearls and his red dye for ointment called “Pocone” (Sanguinaria Canadensis). This house is fifty or sixty yards and is frequented on by his priests (Wright 1965; Quinn, David 1982: 180).
Wassador, the Indian name for copper, was a very important commodity to both the English and the Indians. In 1586 Ralph Lane had heard many stories about a very rich copper mine, which was located far up the Roanoke River. Lane mounted a search, which turned out to be difficult and hazardous (Hulton 1948: 5). Lane and his crew were trying to locate a well-known town to the Indians named Chaunis Temoatan. This same village is linked some twenty years later to the Lost Colony and its link to the Coastal Plain is via the Roanoke River that can be translated as “The River of Money.
It is from John Smith that again we learn of the Indian ways. “Tuckahoe” (duck potato) has the biting qualities of an Indian turnip. It is roasted in pits for a day or two. It is a bulbous root from three to four pounds. This plant is Green Arrow Arum, also sometimes called Water Arum (Medsger, Oliver: Edible Wild Plants. 1939: 196). Indians in Virginia eat green berries and a root from the plant Arrow Arum. The genus Peltandra, species Virginica, is a sagittaefolia (Klimas, John: Wild Flowers of Eastern America. 1974: 39). Arrowhead tubers reduced from Sagittaria Latifolia can be caramelized and eaten (Kavasch 1977: 59).
This research paper may have opened a whole new area of research relating to contact period Native American Indian Villages (1584/1600). The area of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina dictated the culture adaptations that the indigenous people had to make to survive there. The foods, trading items and transportation of those goods are what defined the Algonquian Indians that first encountered the English Colonists of the Roanoke Voyages.
Twenty-eight villages were in the study area. All of these villages give the indication of their livelihood and cultural “niche” in the name of their village. The cultural niche has three components and they are intricately intertwined.
First and foremost the consumable use of and trading inland (up river) of shellfish and shellfish by-products (wampum) is what makes these Indians stand apart from all the Indians to the west (inland). The suffix (ooc with varied spellings) is the announcement that this is the place of the “Great Shell Fish People”. The primary sources of the wampum manufactured from these shells is Marginalia, the Welk shell (called conk by the locals today on the Outer Banks), and the Venus clam (Cherry Stone).
Secondly, the location of the paramount village within the chiefdom or political confederation is denoted by the suffix “tan” in the village name (Croatan and Secotan are examples). The chief or capital village is always related to the village that is in charge of the wampum production and distribution and this village always has the suffix “oke” in the name (Roanoke and Nanocoke are examples).
The third and last component relating to these village names is the technology that allowed the Indians to construct very large boats. These boats were made of single large cypress trees and were very ingeniously carved. The colonist were amazed to see how crafty this labor was and commented on it in the first writings from the 1585 Roanoke Voyage with a drawing showing how the boats were manufactured.
There are three confederations in the study area that were used to study the information about the names of the towns. The Secoatn (north side of the Pamlico River to the south side of the Albemarle Sound including the coast). The Weapemeooc (the north shore of the Albemarle up to the Virginia State line), and the Chowanac or Chowanoke (on the west side of the Chowan River). All three of these villages have one town as the chief town (with the suffix tan) and one town designated the Wampum Town (with the suffix oke).
In conclusion, this study is a hypothesis and needs to be expanded to other Indian confederations and areas to confirm if these findings will be judged positive to future academic scrutiny.Appendices
The location model is an integral part of the studies above. The village names and the hypotheses above cannot be separated from the work below. This study is a very preliminary look at locations and names of Indian villages in the NC coastal area. The probable location of the contact period villages on the Pamlico and Albemarle drainage basins can be tested in a number of ways. The area of study has been confined to the Neuse, Pamlico and Roanoke Rivers including their primary drainage basins. The Pamlico, Croatan and Albemarle sounds are also included in this prelude sample.
The grouping of like names in the case studies presents immediate similarities that cannot be reconciled without drawing some prevalent conclusions. It is apparent in the structure of the village names that the phonetic sounds are an assimilation of multiple syllables. This seems simplistic and only warrants further scrutiny when an attempt is made to define the syllables and inquire about how these names might match up to the geomorphic and water features of the landscape, or other possible descriptions of the village names.
A conclusion relating to the village names is readily apparent from the suffixes of the first set of case studies above (numbers 1- 15). The phonetic sound of the syllable (ooc) is the dominant theme of the group. The spelling of the sound (ooc) involves as many as twenty variations in the literature. For sake of consistency, ooc is the one used for this study. The meaning and translation of this syllable is roughly a place where people harvest great amounts of shellfish (Quinn 1955). This may be synthesized to also mean water that is brackish (not salty or fresh). Oysters and clams need brackish water to survive in great numbers. Saying it includes large bodies of brackish water can further develop this definition. This definition would suggest that a location of a large concentration of fresh or salt water would not be included in this village location model. For the purposes of this study I’m suggesting that where large rivers, bays or sounds reduce to less then one or two miles across, that the Algonquian Indian village names will exclude the suffix (ooc). This presents a juxtaposition of a hypothesis that would predict that the suffix (ooc) would not be found in Indian Village names that are found further up river/stream than the location described above. We will test this conclusion and give comments on its implication below.
This village model also includes the sympathetic thought processes that boats fifty feet long made of whole trees cannot be kept on the open sounds where they may be subjected to damage from storms and floods. These boats in addition would become water logged if left in the water permanently, which would mandate a harbor safe from high tides, storms and flooding. These large boats are the vehicle or tool that is of primary importance in harvesting the shellfish that all seem to be the prevalent suffix in most of all of these village names. Expounding this thought process further would suffice that a small creek that would afford total protection for these large boats should be included in the model.
Another element in the equation of location models is the documented sequence of two Indian villages being located on both sides of a river at the location where the river narrows. These locations mark natural land trails and over time were possibly incorporated as trading centers. This location center of trading is sited by Helen Rountree and is a very important in our study because this is what may be represented in the Tramaskecooc Indian site being shown in two separate map locations, on the Alligator River, as outlined below.
The Buck Ridge site (purported by this author to be the contact period Indian Village of Tramaskecooc) was first located on old maps and mentioned in the literature. The Tramaskecooc site is first depicted on the John White Map (manuscript map A), which was drawn in 1585. An interesting thing then happened with the publication of this same map by Theodore deBry, which was published in 1588. The White map shows this village on the southeast of the Alligator River. His publisher deBry however places the village on the northwest side of the river (see White & deBry maps in the addenda).
This location becomes important in two different ways. First, it fits our new location model, which attempts to foretell where the Algonquian Indians from the Coastal Plain located their villages. They unfailingly seemed to place them near large bodies of open water. They also selected a place that afforded protection for their large boats. Small but very protected creeks near big water seem to best describe where most of these Indian villages are found. (Never more then a thousand yards from such locations). These very large boats seemed to be the Algonquian Indians technological niche and dictated the location of their villages. The sites seem to be highly predictable. Secondly, it is noted that between publication of the first and second map is the period of time that the 1587 Colony was seated. Primary narratives twice indicate the colony planned to move “ fifty miles into the main”. (It of course may only be a coincidence, but both of the sites above mentioned are exactly fifty miles from the colony's original village on Roanoke Island).
The locations of Indian Villages can also be correlated to old geomorphic landforms that made natural trails. The Indians pursued game animals, which had established natural migration paths. It is documented that many of these inland Indian trials are the present-day highways of NC (The old Occenecheey trading path that starts at the fall line on the Roanoke River and goes to Catawba Lake is an example of one of these old Indian trails, and Long Ridge Road that parallels Rt. 32 from Plymouth to Pinetown, NC is another one [Shepard/Willard 2002]).
The research from this study area has produced maps and deeds that demarcate a prehistoric Indian trail that crosses the Albemarle Sound near Colombia, NC. This trail leads southward just west of the existing NC Route 94 to Gum Neck. The trail then turns east, crosses over Buck Ridge and the Alligator River and follows the watercourse through Swan Lake and ends at Lake Mattamuskeet. This trail is picked up, and documented in deeds five miles south of Swan Lake near the above-mentioned Lake Mattamuskeet, and in the oral history today is called the “Old Quaker Trail”. (Local informants showed this trail to this author in 1999. It is faintly discernable as a wagon road through the woods near Lake Mattamuskeet). This Indian trail was researched by using very early maps of this area. The maps were overlaid with the Indian trails until geomorphic features from modern maps could be identified. Next these locations were very carefully scrutinized using infrared and Landsat satellite images to locate the Buck Ridge site. This study eventually led to the location of Buck Ridge. It is hoped that the second village on the east side of the Alligator River can be possibly targeted in the same way. This entire area is related to the Croatan Indians studies with recent findings of deeds and old maps. This presents the possibility of a correlation to the primary study involved (“The Lost Colony of 1587”).
The towns in the second list are placed together because they all end in the suffix “tan”. This word is translated as meaning "town". These village names suggest a place of importance. Croatan, Secotan and Chaunis Temoatan are all well documented as being chief towns of the area where they are located. This is information that has not been previously noted but may be of some use in future studies. All of these towns are associated with the towns on the next list discussed below. They relate to trade and currency. This may again just be a coincidence, as it is not discussed as a correlation in any other studies found as of this date. The name “tan”, which is a suffix, is not directly related to food sources and money, but is always associated with the towns containing the suffix “oke” and are intertwined with the names of the Indian villages in a very important way.
The list of Indian towns as banking towns may have an affinity with the manufacture of Indian money. The word Roanoke itself means Indian Money. The translation of the word means to abrade or rub smooth (i.e. make shell beads, wampum, peak, or minfill/minfel). Indian villages or towns that have spellings ending in “oke” are all documented as important towns. A possibly very important recognition about how this name (the suffix “oke”) fits into Algonquian society may have been discovered in this study. There appears to be only one named village with this suffix in each of five separate confederations (Secotan, Weapemeooc, Chawanoac and Piscataway).
The Nanocoke Indians were from Maryland and are representative of the large confederation of Indians that resided on Chesapeake Bay and maintained the area that was just north of the Powhatan Confederation. (Their area of influence and control was from the fall line in the mountains north of the Potomac River and west to Chesapeake Bay including the Eastern Shore of Maryland). These Indians were associated with and part of the Piscataway Indian confederation, who were very great in number when Maryland was first settled in 1634. The Piscataway Indians still have a small reservation near Washington, DC on the Potomac River near Indian Head, Md. The Nanocoke Indians were very powerful and subjugated all of the Coastal Indians in Maryland and Delaware to make their shell money beads for exchange. These Indians allowed no English settlements in their areas until very late in colonial times and it is well documented that they were the established "money changers" for the Piscataway Confederation just after the Maryland contact period of 1634/90 [Semmes 1936: Captains (Indians) and Mariners of Maryland. Johns Hopkins University Press].
The Chowanoac Indians (from the west side of the Chowan river near the Albemarle Sound in NC) were in some way affiliated with the Powhatan Indians from Virginia (at the contact period) but were not under the direct control of Powhatan. The only reference to money or exchange in this area relates to the village of Chaunis Temoatan and is connected to a copper (wassador) trade from a very large confederation of inland Indians (The Chaunis Temoatan village name was changed to Ritanoe by the time the Jamestown settlers arrived). In 1609, the chief from Ritanoe controlled this area of the Chowan (Shepard/Willard 2002). His main village was located on the fall line of the Roanoke River. This river is the main trading route between these two towns and it is interesting that the river also has the same name (Roanoke) possibly relating to copper, money or bartering exchange. This chief is quoted from several sources as stating that he sent survivors of the "Lost Colony” (two boys and a young maid) to the Chowan to “beat his copper” (Quinn 1955).
Very little is known about the village of Ohanoke other then it is also located on the money trade route on the Roanoke river, which may derive its name from the association of Ritanoe which is the location of the best-documented location of precious metal copper (or “wassador" from the Algonquian language). Ralph Lane attempted to reach this town because it was widely reported that the mine was very rich. In 1585, Lane had to abandon his search and resort to eating three of his large Mastiff guard dogs to stave off starvation (Quinn 1984; The Zuniga Map; Cummings 1999).
The Indian village of Pasquenoke was located in the Weapemeoc Confederation on the north shore of the Albemarle Sound. The Pasquotank River, which now leads to Elizabeth City, NC takes its name from these Indians. There is not any relevant studies indicating any information about this village and, like the other twenty or so Indian villages depicted on the John White map, only three have been identified and only Croatan has been confirmed. If the preliminary study presented here finds acceptance in the academic community with further research, it may be argued that the Pasquenoke Indians are also medium or money exchangers (makers of wampum, wassador, roanoke, peak and minfill) for the Weapemeoc Confederation at the period of contact. Again, it is reiterated that this is a very preliminary research study but the conclusion could be drawn that there seems to be only one town in each confederation that sports the suffix of “oke”, and that these towns may have been granted the authority and designated as the “Money Town”.
The village of Skicoak (there is a slight difference in spelling in this name) was near the confluence of the James River and Chesapeake Bay and is only mentioned a few times in the historic literature and on some early maps. This location is reported as being a very important town and was visited by the Roanoke colonists in the winter of 1586 (Quinn 1955). At this point it is again conjecture based on the descriptions of the other towns but it may have been involved in medium exchange (i.e. money). This village may have been a part of the Powhatan Confederation but it cannot be established at this time. The last group of village names is a very small sample and accordingly is hard to draw any conclusions about them.
The Tripanicks are a very obscure Indian tribe and the only reference to them is that in 1586 they visited the Roanoke Colony in the village of Skicoak in what is now Virginia. The translation of the word Tripanicks is "a place where tubers grow" (Quinn 1955).
The village of Pecanick is a very important village because it is related to a place where members of the “Lost Colony” are reported to be. Identification of these villages by use of their name is very problematical as tubers grow throughout the southeast. Much more research will need to be completed on these two villages to possibly discover the meaning of their names.
The Buck Ridge site (propertied to be Tramasekcooc) was first located with the John White Map (manuscript map A) which was drawn in 1585. An interesting thing then happened with the publication of this drawing by Theodore deBry, which was first published in 1588. The White map shows this village on the southeast of the Alligator River. His publisher deBry however places the village on the northwest side of the river (see White & deBry maps in the addenda).
This location becomes important in two different ways. First, it fits our new location model, which attempts to foretell where the Algonquian Indians in the Coastal Plain located their villages. They unfailingly seemed to place them near large bodies of open water. They also selected a place very near the large water that afforded protection for these large boats (they were in effect master large boat builders). These very large boats seemed to be their technological niche and dictated the location of their villages. The sites seem to be highly predictable.
This author first found the very large boats in the narrative writings of John Smith and George Percy from Jamestown (Barbour, Philip 1967). "We found a place five miles in compass, with either a bush or tree. We saw nothing there but a canoe, which was made out of a whole tree, Which was five and forty foot long by the rule" (Quinn 1967).
This location of these villages all seem to be similar and was also noticed by Marco Gibbs, a scholar who resides in Hyde County near the site of this Research Center's proposed site of Pomeiooc on Farr Creek. (Marco found information that the syllable "ooc" may be on all of the village's names that meet these location criteria).
“The manner of makinge their boats in Virginia is very wonderfull. For wheras they want Instruments of yorn, or other like vuto ours, yet they knowehow to make them as handsomely, to saile with whear they liste in their Riuers, and to fishe with all, as ours. First they choose some longe, and thike tree, accordinge to the bignes of the boate which they would frame, and make a fyre on the grownd abowt the Roote therfo, kindlinge the same by little, and little with drie mosse of trees, and chipps of woode that the flame should not mounte opp to highe, and burne to much of the lengte of the tree. When yt is almost burt through, and readye to fall they make a new fyre, which they susfer to burne vuntill the tree fall of yt owne accord. ... They then raise yt vppon potes laid ouer cross wise vppon forked posts, at suche a reasonable heighte as they may handsomlye worke vppo yt. Then take they of the barke with certayne shells: thy reserue the, inerrmost parte of the lennke, for the nethermost parte of the boate. On the other side they make a fyre accordinge to the length of the bodye of the tree, sauing at both endes. That which they thinke is sufficientlye burned they quenche and scrape away with shells, and makinge a new fyre they burne yt agayne, and foe they continne somtymes burninge and sometimes scrapinge, vntill the boate have sufficient bothowmes. This god indueth thise sauage people with sufficient reason to make things necessaaire to serue their turnes." (Hulton, John: America 1585: The Complete Drawings of John White, 1994: 118) [See addenda for a copy of this John White/Theodore deBry drawing from 1585].Samples of Shellfish Found Insitu at Site 31DR1 (Croatan)
Moon Snail, Polinceses
Tulip Schells, Fasciolaria: This a very small shell and is well represented at the Croatan Site. It may have been a shell used as ornaments rather than as a food source.
Salt Marsh Mussel, Modiolus: This shell has little food source but has a sparkly covering that falls off when the shell is rubbed. In some of the readings it is mentioned that the Native Americans will sometimes sprinkle silver powder on the puccoon red dye as a make-up. Both males and females were reported to do this.
Perwinkle, Littorina: This is another very small shell and is well represented at the Croatan site. This shell again may have been used as an ornament and as such may have been a trade item.
Bent Hose Clam, Macoma: This shellfish is not represented well at Croatan but is large enough to have been a food source.
Scallop, Pecten SP.: A very interesting cultural change at the Croatan site over the ten millenniums that this site was occupied (800 AD-1800 AD). The yearly inhabitants had a tremendous yield of scallops; the younger group (1200 AD) and forward had a dramatic decline in the use of this shellfish. This anomaly needs further study.
Oyster, Ostrea SP.: This was probable the number one source of shellfish represented at Croatan. There is no evidence in the readings from the site itself that this source was used for the manufacture of money. I can assume that the large shell mounds found are represesnted on the coastal waters along the coast of northeast United States.
Venus clam, Clione: This would be one of the primary candidates for both a food source and money production. The suffix “ooc” may have indicated all of the shellfish or just clams, welk or oysters individually.
Oyster, Ostrea: Same as above.
Oyater, Ostrea: Same as above.
Whelk, Busycon SP.: This shellfish is very well represented at the Croatan site. This author was involved with the Croatan Group and volunteered for six years helping to dig the site, working in the laboratory, cleaning and bagging artifacts. I have seen hundreds of these shells that have had cultural manipulation. Holes were drilled to extract the base material which would then be abraded and smoothed into shell money. This shell and the clam would be the most likely to represent product for making wampum.
Whelk, Buscyon: The hole as depicted above is the location that this author has found on hundreds of shell artifacts found at Croatan in datable strata from the contact period (1584).
Whelk, Buscyon: This is one of the few samples in the collection of artifacts from Croatan that shows no manipulation of the shell.
Whelk, Buscyon SP.: This is the absolute best sample in the Croatan collection of artifacts that shows cultural manipulation of shells that could have been used for making wampum.Bibliography: Primary