• NCR Regional Archeology Program

    NCR Regional Archeology Program


African-American Households from
Manassas National Battlefield Park

Cultural Continuity at the Nash Site


Mancala gaming pieces in the middle row and far right, bottom row were found at the Nash site.

Mancala gaming pieces were also found at the Nash site. In addition, the discovery of quartz crystals may suggest that the Nash family practiced a traditional African religion. A cache of six quartz crystals which included a lump of the mineral galena (not available locally) and a quartz projectile point may have served a ritualistic purpose. Quartz crystals were also found in African-American contexts in Virginia at Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home, Poplar Forest, and at the Charles Carroll House in Annapolis, Maryland.


Quartz crystals, a quartz projectile point (bottom row, center right), and the mineral galena (bottom row, center left) were found buried adjacent to the exterior, western side of the stone chimney at the Nash site.

Items similar to these are found in African nkisi, or spirit bundles. Although the use of such bundles varied greatly, African folklore and traditions detail the importance of white-colored objects like quartz. The projectile point may have been found by members of the Nash family in the fields surrounding their house, and then added to their crystal collection. The quartz crystals and the mineral galena are rarely found in this portion of Virginia.

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