Archaeology and Artifacts

The Fort Nooherooka site (called by anthropologists “Neoheroka”) has been the subject of intensive research at East Carolina University since the 1990s.  Under the guidance of ECU archaeologist, Professor David Phelps and with the assistance of many graduate researchers and students, the fort site was systematically examined, charted, and partially excavated during annual summer field schools from 1990 to 2001.  Following standard archaeological procedures, test pits were excavated in carefully-selected segments of the historic fort to determine the locations of trenches, fortress palisade, and underground living quarters inside the fort.  During the course of these excavations, hundreds of artifacts of many types were recovered–ranging from eating and cookware vessels to tools and weapons, from food containers to seed for future crops, and from the detritus of battle to scattered human remains.

The Tuscaroras is an educational video produced by the School of Education, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Coastal Archaeology Office at East Carolina University (edited by Dr. Larry Tise and David Fictum).

All of these materials have been housed in the David Phelps Anthropology Laboratory at East Carolina University from each of the investigations.  Owned by the Mewborn family where the fort site is located, the recovered items have been systematically recorded and some of them photographed.  Physical items from the Fort Nooherooka collection have frequently been exhibited at the Anthropology Department and made available for limited term exhibits at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh, the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, and at Tryon Palace in New Bern.  The human and cultural remains have been systematically analyzed and recorded, as well, and published in the Federal Register pursuant to US law for eventual repatriation to the Tuscarora Nation.

Sample artifacts excavated by the ECU Anthropology Department from the Nooherooka site between 1990 and 2001.

Photographed by Christina Lugo and assistance from Professor Charles Ewen.