Martin Damian Gallivan

Assistant Professor, College of William & Mary

James River Chiefdoms 
My earlier efforts to develop a historical anthropology of Native communities in the Chesapeake resulted in the monograph James River Chiefdoms: The Rise of Social Inequality in the Chesapeake.  This study considered puzzling discrepancies between the ethnohistoric and archaeological records of the Powhatan and Monacan societies Jamestown colonists met in 1607. The colonists described the coastal Powhatans and the Monacans of the James River interior in terms that evoke the anthropological notion of a chiefdom, though the region’s archaeological record lacks elements typically associated with complex polities.  My comparative, quantitative analysis of residential archaeology in the James River Valley highlighted a rearrangement of daily practices within Native villages between AD 1200 and 1500. James River villagers reorganized their domestic production, settlement space, and regional interactions to create new funds of power.
My current research involves an investigation of the Werowocomoco site, the political center of th Powhatan chiefdom during the early seventeenth century. Though the site is best-known as the location of Pocahontas' legendary rescue of English colonist John Smith, early encounters between the colonists and Powhatans at Werowocomoco incorporated a series of encounters that involved politicla negotiations, material exchange, and dueling rituals.   After the site was recently identified, I joined several colleagues to form the Werowocomoco Research Group. Though much is known about the Powhatan chiefdom and its central role in the early colonial history of North America from English documentary sources, this history is framed by seventeenth-century colonialist narratives and a series of events involving English colonists.  Archaeological investigation at Werowocomoco holds the promise of adding significantly to our understanding of Native perspectives on colonial encounters in the Chesapeake by expanding this frame of reference beyond an event-based perspective centered on the colonizers.   By focusing on the site’s cultural landscape, maize production, and trade relations we hope to identify evidence of the social power that permeated Werowocomoco during the early seventeenth century.
Chickahominy River Survey 
The Chickahominy River Survey, directed by William and Mary archaeologists Norm Barka and Ben McCary, identified a rich array of Native sites in the Chickahominy drainage.  Excavated sites span the Middle Woodland (500 B.C. – A.D. 900), Late Woodland (A.D. 900 – AD 1500), and Contact (AD 1500 – 1622) periods. As such, the collection is unmatched in the region for its size, temporal range, and diversity of materials.  Currently I am collaborating with professors Barka, Michael Blakey, and Danielle Morett-Langholtz to complete the study.  Our efforts include close consultations with the Chickahominy Tribe and an effort to produce a historical anthropology of the Chickahominy peoples that combines archaeology, ethnohistory, and oral history. 
Selected Publications
In press   Powhatan's Werowocomoco: Constructing Place, Polity, and Personhood in the Chesapeake, A.D. 1200 - 1609.  Accepted for publication in American Anthropologist.
In press     Civic Engagement at Werowocomoco: Reasserting Native Narratives from a Powhatan Place of Power. In Archaeology as a Tool of Civic Engagement. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. P Shackel and B. Little, eds. (co-author with Danielle Moretti-Langholtz)
2006      The Werowocomoco Research Project: Background and 2003 Archaeological Field Season Results. Volume 15. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Historic with Thane Harpole, David A. Brown, Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, and E. Randolph Turner, III.
Link to PDF (15 Mb): (BW lo res).pdf
2004     Economy, Architecture, and Exchange: Conjuncture and Event in the Chesapeake, A.D. 1200 - 1607. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 20:12-20. Co-author with Michael Klein.
2004      Reconnecting the Contact Period and Late Prehistory: Household and Community Dynamics in the James River Basin. In Indian and European Contact in Context: The Mid-Atlantic Region. D.B. Blanton and J.A. King, eds. Pp. 22-46. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. 
2003    James River Chiefdoms: The Rise of Social Inequality in the Chesapeake. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
2003    Late Woodland Social Transformations in the James RiverPiedmont. Technical Report Series No. 12. Richmond: Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
2002    Measuring Sedentariness and Settlement Population: Accumulations Research in a Middle Atlantic Context. American Antiquity 67(3)535-557.
2001    Middle Woodland Settlement in the Interior Coastal Plain. Co-author with Helen Blouet. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia 56(3): 127-145.
1997    The Leatherwood Creek Site: A Dan River Phase Site in the Southern Virginia Piedmont. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia 52:150-171.
1997    Spatial Analysis of John Smith's Map of Virginia. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 13:145-160.