The Falling Creek Archaeological Site

Chesterfield County, Va.

The site is at the Fall Line, on a creek aptly named Falling Creek. The area was buried for decades -- maybe centuries -- under several feet of sand and other debris deposited by the creek. Gaston opened up a channel on the south bank of the creek three years ago. The timbers remained buried, however, until recent flooding from two intense storms eroded the bank and revealed the structure. The beams are exposed only at low tide.

Overall view

Above is what is exposed. The beams in the photo are large. The long beam is 25 to 30 feet long, where it adjoins another beam that extends into the bank at left. The total length is more than 45 feet. The long beam itself is 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Obscured by the white rock in the right portion of the image is another beam more than 30 inches wide.

Exposed end

Here you see the end of the long beam, as well as the wide beam discussed above. The two rest on a series of cross beams (such as the one submerged at left). I do not know how much deeper the structures are. It may not be obvious here, but we noticed signs that the beams were cut by hand.

Bluff view

This is another view of the entire exposed area. The cars on the bluff above give an idea of scale.

Lyle Browning

Lyle E. Browning, the archaeologist overseeing the survey of the site, stands on one beam while photographing the others.

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