Based on artifacts excavated in and around Port Royal, archaeologists estimate that the area was inhabited as early as 11,000 years ago. At the time the English arrived, the area was occupied by tribes united in a confederacy ruled by Powhatan. The Port Royal area was claimed by about 400-600 members of the Nantaughtacund tribe, one member of the confederacy. The tribes called the river "Rappahannock," meaning "alternating stream," in recognition of the ebb and flow of a tidal river. John Smith mapped the Rappahannock as far as Port Royal in 1608, and white men began to settle in the area in about 1650. The settlers were led by Colonel John Catlett, who was killed in a raid in 1670. By 1700, few Native American remained, but their heritage lives on in the names they bequeathed and the countless artifacts they left.