Ancient History of Virginia 15,000 B.C.–Present
People lived in Virginia for about 17,000 years before European contact. The native people had no written language. They recorded their historic events through storytelling and symbolic drawings. Through patient work in the field and in the lab, archaeologists have reconstructed some of the history and lifeways of these first people by uncovering buried clues of their unwritten past.
The ancient times are divided into three periods: Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland. The years after the arrival of the English are referred to as "European Contact." For information about these periods, select The Book link to the right.
Note: The information here is taken from the book First People: The Early Indians of Virginia, produced by the Department of Historic Resources, and published by the University Press of Virginia. In writing the book, the authors collaborated with the leaders of the eight recognized tribes in Virginia, to produce a comprehensive look at the history of the native peoples who first inhabited the land.