Indigenous Peoples

Native American Oil Painting

For thousands of years, native peoples traversed the land that would become Frederick County. Historic-era tribes, such as the Susquehannock, the Piscataway, and the Tuscarora used the Upper Potomac and Monocacy River and their surrounding valleys to hunt wild game, establish small encampments and villages, and establish trade routes.

Image: North Eastern Native American warrior before battle, early 1700s.
Courtesy Artist Robert Griffing, and Publisher, Paramount Press Inc.

Spear points

Native American Spear Points

The Woodland Era spanned 1000-1,600. Settlements were established near rivers allowing for fishing and water transport. Villages formed as a means of protection. Far-reaching trade networks were established.

The bow and arrow was introduced in around 800 AD. The size of spear-points were made relative to the size of the animals that were hunted for food and clothing. These small arrow and spear-points document the craftsmanship of those who depended on the accuracy of their weapons.

Pottery Shards

Native American Pottery Shards

Clay has been used for domestic ware, ritual tokens and decorative items since 28,000 BC . Generally found along rivers and streams, or where water once flowed, the right soil is composed of minerals, plant and animal life. Frederick County was a haven for this material and easily obtained.

Water softened the clay allowing shapes to be made. Simple decoration using a stick enhanced the beauty of the finished piece. Heating it in a pit with fire (firing) made the objects durable, not as durable as metal but certainly useful, necessary, and beautiful in every day life.