CCR completed an archaeological data recovery at the multicomponent Mabrey Bridge site (31ED333) in North Carolina’s northern Coastal Plain region. The project was conducted for the North Carolina Department of Transportation in preparation for the replacement of a bridge over Fishing Creek, a major tributary of the Tar River. The project yielded evidence for recurrent seasonal occupation of the Fishing Creek floodplain during the Middle and Late Woodland periods. Over 90 cultural features related to the Woodland occupations, including deep pit features with abundant and well-preserved refuse deposits, were investigated. Analysis of over 12,000 lithic artifacts, 6,000 ceramic artifacts, 16,000 faunal bone fragments, and 29,000 carbonized botanical specimens, the majority from the pit features, was completed. The presence of carbonized hickory nutshell fragments in many of the feature contexts, along with other clues from archaeobotanical and faunal analyses, suggested that the major occupations took place during the fall or winter.
Recovery of abundant refuse from a single eighteenth-century feature, possibly once a household sub-floor storage pit, offered insights into the early settlement of Edgecombe County and provided significant information on domestic lifeways for a small and modest Colonial-period household. Feature analysis and documentary sources suggested that the historic component could represent a household of slaves of African descent. Unfortunately, there was limited preservation in this portion of the site and the recovered evidence was insufficient to draw conclusions with respect to ethnicity.