Prehistoric Indian Archaeology

Several prehistoric Indian camp sites are located in Nelson County, Virginia. Devils Knob (elev. 3851 feet) and Crawford Knob (elev. 3028 feet) are separated by the Laurel Springs Gap in the Blue Ridge mountain chain. This area is the narrowest point of the northern Blue Ridge, and prehistoric Indians must have found this gap to be a convenient crossing point between the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Virginia Piedmont to the east.

A variety of artifacts have been found on Devils Knob and Crawford Knob. Most of them are made of quartzite, and the rest are mainly quartz. The closest known source of quartzite is 4.5 miles away and 2000 feet lower in elevation, suggesting that quartzite was transported to these nomadic camp sites.

The artifacts appear to be from the Middle to Late Archaic period (6,000 to 1,200 B.C.) All of the artifacts shown here are surface finds. The geographic positions for each find have been recorded, and digging has been avoided to preserve the subsurface archaeological record.



Stone tools were made by chipping one stone with another, and prehistoric points and tools usually can be distinguished from naturally broken stones by their shape and sharply worked edges. Many small stone flakes may be found at camp sites where the tools were made. The piece of quartzite shown below has scoring lines on both sides, presumably to facilitate breaking the stone to give it a straight edge.


Devils Knob Artifacts


Quartzite Axe Head

Quartz Point

Quartz Point

Broken Quartzite Point

Quartzite Scraper

Multi-Purpose Quartzite Scraper

Quartzite Scrapers

Quartzite Drill/Punch

Small Quartzite Scraper

Quartzite Scraper

Small Quartzite Scrapers/Points/Blades

Quartz Point Tip

Quartz Scraper

Small Quartz Axe Head

Quartz Blade

Quartz Point/Scraper

Quartz Point

Quartz/Quartzite Points/Drills/Blades

Quartzite Scrapers

Quartzite Scraper

Quartz Point/Scraper/Drill

Quartz Points

Quartz Points

Quartzite Points

Quartzite Point? re-reworked as scraper

Quartzite Point

Quartzite Point

Quartzite Point

Crawford Knob Artifacts


Quartz Point/Scraper

Quartz Blade


E-mail the Author: mfaintich@cyberwind.net