Pictures of Field Today
The remains of the Monacan village of Monasukapanough are now buried beneath the floodplain of the Rivanna River at a site marked as 44AB18. The landscape of the area has a very different appearance today than it had while the Monacans were living there. After centuries of plowing, the rolling hills have been turned into a nearly flat plain, and today, a soccer field covers much of the land that used to be the village. The burial mound associated with the village, once at least 12 feet high, is no longer visible as a landform. It takes a great deal of imagination to visualize the world that existed when the village of Monasukapanough was inhabited.


The Piedmont of Virginia is not an ideal environment for the preservation of artifacts. Because of this, although many stone tools and pottery sherds have been excavated at 44AB18, organic remains such as wood or bones are collected only rarely.
Only the remains of once living organisms can be radiocarbon dated; in their absence, the process of seriation is used to organize a sequence of artifact types into a chronology. At Monosukapanough, two specific artifact classes, the Clarksville point and Potomac Creek pottery, are very important in proving that the site was occupied through the beginning of the 18th century. The presence of these artifacts at other sites in Virginia and North Carolina in association with radiocarbon-dated remains makes it possible to claim that these artifacts could have been manufactured well into the contact period. Traditionally, European trade items, like glass beads, have been used to prove continued occupation through this period, and the lack of such items was seen to eliminate the possibility of continued
inhabitation. We believe the Clarksville points and Potomac Creek pottery prove that the Monacans inhabited their village through the 18th century despite the complete lack of trade goods found at the site.

John Smith Map
Although John Smith never traveled past the fall line of the James River into the piedmont of Virginia, he did label an area on his 1608 Map of Virginia as being inhabited by the Monacans. The village of Monasukapanough is drawn on this map, off a branch of the “Powhatan flu”. Since Smith never actually visited Monasukapanough, this village, like the other Monacan sites illustrated on the Smith map, must have been large and powerful enough for the Powhatan Indians to have been familiar with it. The Powhatan, who refused to lead colonists into Monacan territory, had a monopoly on the creation of historic documents. This map is one of the few early documents that mentions them by name; without it, the name Monacan might not have survived in the historical record.

Bushnell Article on Monasukapanough Excavation
David Bushnell excavated at 44AB18 in 1931. In his article he connects the archaeological site with the village Monasukapanough on John Smith’s map and Thomas Jefferson’s excavation of a burial mound. Bushnell argues for the continued Monacan presence in the Piedmont of Virginia through the 18th century with a reference to Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia . Also in reference to Jefferson’s excavation, he notes that the burial mound was no longer visible by 1930s, and that it seems unlikely that the mound’s exact location will be determined. Bushnell does not clearly define the extent of the village, but does claim that it occupied land on both banks of the river.