"They use also long arrows tyed in a line wherewith they shoot at fish in the rivers." —Captain John Smith
In 1608, shortly after Jamestown had been established, Captain John Smith and a small crew worked a vessel up the Rappahannock River. In this vicinity, the English explorers encountered a Native American people called Mannahoak. Their contact proved hostile and after a short skirmish, the Englishmen withdrew. There would be no further interaction between the Europeans and the Mannahoak because a powerful Native American confederation under Chief Powhatan stood between them.
Not until 1670, after Powhatan's confederation had been militarily defeated, did explorers once again travel up the Rappahannock River. By then, the Mannahoaks were no longer here. They had either succumbed to disease or been dispersed by more powerful tribes from the north. The Mannahoaks were the last Native American culture in the Rappahannock valley. The arriving Europeans, drawn to the mineral rich Piedmont, represented the beginning of an industrial presence.
When Captain John Smith developed a map of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, Bay and its watershed, he mapped the upper Rappahannock River valley from information gleaned from interrogating a Mannahoak he had captured
at the falls. Archeologists have since confirmed the location of the large Native American settlement sites that Smith mapped without seeing. The crosses on the map represent this area, where Smith landed in 1608.
Native Americans were drawn to the falls of the Rappahannock River where fish and game were abundant. The later Europeans would use the river's flow to power mills.
Spearhead used for fishing, fashioned from flint.
Polished grooved ax.