Archaeology Team Page

During the decade of 1670 to 1680, a series of political maneuverings by prominent property owners of lands north of Albemarle Sound occurred with the ultimate intent of obtaining profit from and control of the lucrative tobacco trade developing between New England and the mother country.  These activities, aggravated by severe weather and low crop yields, and a perception of excessive crown taxation erupted in a bloodless rebellion against the laws and governance of the crown.  The rebellion was ultimately resolved peacefully without loss of life.  The epicenter of activities during these events was the courthouse and customs house reported to be located on the Pasquotank River at Cobbs Point, South of the current center of Elizabeth City.  Early maps show the two buildings near the shore, not far from the foot of a dock at which shipments of tobacco were sent to customers.   

Anecdotal evidence and local tradition hold the buildings to be located near or incorporated into structures located on the Winslow Farm which was developed into a subdivision around 1960.  This land has recently become available and accessible for an exploratory survey to ascertain the location of any historically significant structures and to determine the extent of any remains that may yet exist. 
Aerial photos of the Elizabeth City area, made prior to and just after World War 2, were examined to determine the location of the original shoreline and any structures that may have contained elements of the original colonial era buildings.  Modern Digital Orthographic Quarter Quad (DOQQ) aerial photographs will be used to provide geo-referencing of the early aerial photographs.  The geographic coordinates of the structures formerly occupying the Cobbs Point site identified an area that allowed the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey to be used.

The purpose of the survey was to reveal whether any remains of earlier structures are present.  The area was covered in transects enabling linear data to be collected. Transects have been made at sufficiently small separation to allow computer processing aided re-construction of a three dimensional visualization of what lies beneath the surface to a depth of about 3 meters.  The features appear to be present within the soil depth probed by GPR, their nature and exact location may be determined by a trained archaeologist using a probing device to penetrate the soil at locations revealed by the GPR survey.  Sufficiently interesting results prompt a request to the property owners to allow excavating any structural remains that have been discovered.