Native Americans in Rock Creek Park: Introduction

Native Americans have roamed the hills around Rock Creek and the falls of the Potomac for at least the past 10,000 years. However, for much of that time they do not seem to have stayed long. The only traces they left of their presence are a few lost spearpoints. Americans of that distant era were hunter-gatherers who roamed widely through the landscape in search of food, stone for tools, and other resources.

People first made longer stays in the park about 4,500 years ago, in what archeologists call the Late Archaic period. About that time people began to quarry stone from cobble beds along Rock Creek. They also began to spend more time around the Little Falls of the Potomac, where large archeological sites were noticed as long ago as the 1870s. Finds of spearpoints, arrowheads, grinding stones, potsherds, and other artifacts show that after 2500 BC Native Americans often passed through and camped in the park. By studying the objects they left behind, archeologists have learned much about their lives.

Part of a series of articles titled Ancient Native Americans in Rock Creek Park.

Next: The Quarries

Rock Creek Park

Last updated: April 17, 2020