Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Peter C. Stewart

Committee Member

Helen C. Rountree

Committee Member

James L. Bugg, Jr.


The estuarine Nansemond River in southeastern Virginia provided exploitable resources to Indians and English colonists during the seventeenth century. Colonization of the Nansemond, attempted in 1609, was resisted by the Nansemond Indians and was accomplished only after they were decimated and displaced. Anglicans and dissenting Puritans and Quakers established churches and meeting houses along the river. Richard Bennett, a Puritan and later a Quaker, brought the first Negro into the Nansemond River area and served as Governor of Virginia. Settlers established farms, conformed to a socio-political system, questioned royal authority during Bacon's Rebellion, and were afforded the protection of a fort and the economic opportunities of a town. Archeological evidence encountered during excavations of four trash pits has provided insights into the culture, subsistence, and economy of the colonists of the Nansemond River during the seventeenth century.


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