Dating the Colonial-Era Davis Site (44LA46) in Lancaster County, Virginia

Marcus M. Key, Jr., Dickinson College
Tara E. Jones, Dickinson College
Carolyn H. Jett

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit The Archeological Society of Virginia's Website.


This is the first detailed archeological analysis of the Davis Site ( 44LA46), located on the Eastern Branch of the Corrotoman River in Lancaster County, Virginia. The goal of the study was to date the site's colonial occupation using historical archeological methods. Plow zone surface collections, which were dominated by clay tobacco pipe fragments, formed the basis of the study. The very complete courthouse records in Lancaster County permitted an integrated historical archeological approach to dating the site. The timing of colonial occupation was determined using five independent approaches. The first three were based on archeological artifacts: (1) pipe stem bore diameters calculated a mean date of 1674, (2) pipe bowl shapes indicated a mean date of 1696, and (3) pipe makers' marks suggested a mean date of 1675. The last two were based on historical documents: (1) courthouse records and (2) tithable rolls which indicated mean dates of 1686 and 1687, respectively. The historical records indicate the site was occupied by the Thomas Buckley family. The archeological data and the historical data closely matched, resulting in a mean date for the colonial occupation of the Davis Site of 1684, with a maximum range of 1650-1718.