Prehistoric Landscapes of the Nation's Capital
The Whitehurst West site lay on a terrace adjacent to Rock Creek, west of the Rock Creek Parkway. It is now about 45 meters (148 ft) east of the stream bank and 2 meters (7 ft) above high tide.
The lowest level is a natural gravel bar lying on Ice Age river deposits. This level may have been exposed during the latter part of the Late Archaic, as evidenced by a radiocarbon date of 2650 B.C. Later, the surface was open and occupied in the middle of the Woodland period, based upon the ceramics and stone artifacts found with fire-cracked rock, cobbles, charcoal, and gravel. This thick deposit was named Feature 502.
Radiocarbon dates taken from charcoal samples and residues adhering to sherds from Feature 502 ranged from 770 to 990 A.D. Dates for the deposit overlying Feature 502 ranged from 1210 to 1260 A.D. The uppermost layer dated to 1640 A.D. More than 4.25 meters (14 ft) of historic fill overlaid the prehistoric deposits in this location.
The presence and distribution of artifacts and animal bone in this feature suggested that the spatial arrangement of the deposit had been preserved to some degree. Many small pieces of burned animal bone were recovered, along with plant remains from pokeweed, hickory nut, walnut, raspberry, and blackberry. Organic remains adhering to some sherds provided evidence of the processing of grass seed and a tuber related to the potato.